Campaigners opposed to the plans have welcomed the announcement. In its weekend newsletter, Don’t Drill The Wight said it was ‘delighted’.
Last week, UKOG told investors it had ‘relinquished’ its petroleum exploration development licence for the Island. The announcement was made in an interim update to the London Stock Exchange.
The exclusive licence, to seek and produce oil here, was granted by the government in 2016 and covered over 200km² of land — more than half of the Isle of Wight, including beauty spots in the West Wight and at Arreton.
UKOG believed nearly 15 million barrels of oil could be recovered and its licence, PEDL331, was due to run until July 2023, with a plan for 2 oil well sites.
In October, a proposal for the first — an exploratory site in Arreton — was thrown out by the Isle of Wight Council. Members of its planning committee unanimously refused the borehole application, due to its potential impact on tourism and ‘demonstrable’ impact on the Island’s natural environment.
In March, UKOG said it would not appeal that decision, but did not confirm the future of a second site, in Godshill.
By relinquishing its PED licence, UKOG will not be allowed to drill or explore for oil on the Isle of Wight.
Arreton’s Councillor Suzie Ellis said she was very glad to read the news. She said:
“Coupled with the recent announcement they would not be appealing the planning committee’s unanimous decision to refuse their application, it is a welcome reassurance that UKOG no longer has an interest in Arreton.”
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