UKOG TO CONSIDER LODGING APPEAL AS COUNCIL REJECTS PLANS FOR OIL DISCOVERY NEAR ARRETON

UK Oil and Gas says it is disappointed by the Isle of Wight Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for an oil discovery site near Arreton, stating the company will now consider its position and whether to lodge an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate.

In a crunch meeting of the council’s planning committee last night (Tuesday), councillors unanimously decided to refuse UK Oil and Gas’s (UKOG) application for 2 exploratory boreholes off Blackwater Road, due to potential impact on tourism and ‘demonstrable’ impact on the Island’s natural environment. Other grounds were also cited to protect the integrity of the Island’s biosphere status.

The Arreton discovery lies within the 200 km² PEDL331 licence in which UKOG holds a 95% operated interest.

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Committee members debated the application and agreed on the fact they could find no benefit to the local economy – despite planning officer Russell Chick advising that planning guidance did not identify the need for local benefits.

Planning officers had recommended the application be conditionally granted, nearly 18 months after it was submitted, and in their report said while the economic benefits would be ‘relatively minor’ at the local level, nationally the benefits of the proposal would be substantial and ‘great weight’ must be attributed to that.

Councillors, however, did not agree with officers and instructed them to build a response that would reject the application.

Matt Cartwright, UKOG’s commercial director, said of importing 36% of the UK’s energy:

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“It makes no economic sense when we have oil right under our feet. We estimate in the success case that we could produce up to 18million barrels from our Isle of Wight licence”.

Mr Cartwright went on to say the level of investment would be £6million, ‘keeping expenditures with the Island economy to the maximum extent possible’ and if successful could be increased to £30million.

In a statement issued this morning (Wednesday), UKOG has said:

“The Company took considerable care and undertook much research to minimise the potential impacts of the A-3 site, choosing a location 300m distant from the A3056 and adjacent to land with existing non-agricultural commercial uses, namely the Wight Farm Anaerobic Digestion Energy Power Station and the Blackwater Quarry for aggregates. No objections to the development were raised by statutory consultees on environmental, drinking water, landscape or health and safety grounds”.

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The company says that the decision goes against last week’s recommendation by the council’s planning officers to approve the project and the Company will now consider its position and whether to lodge an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate.

The application was for a 3-year period which would have seen the construction, operation and decommissioning of the wells to see if it would be viable to produce oil at that site in the future.

More than 1,000 objections were submitted against the application, compared to 70 in favour, along with a petition signed by 4,400 people presented to the Isle of Wight Council.

A peaceful protest was held outside County Hall before the planning committee got underway by multiple campaigns including Don’t Drill the Wight.

Councillor Lora Peacey Wilcox, Alliance Group Leader of the Isle of Wight Council, has said:

“I agree with the Planning committee’s decision to reject the application. There was clear public opposition to the proposal made by many very knowledgeable islanders, and it plainly failed to accord with how the Island should be looking to develop in these greener times.

“Going forward we are looking to both respect and sustain our delicate and fragile Island environment. We want to take the lead in supporting and welcoming innovation and new technologies  to supply our needs for power and energy rather than looking to damaging reliance upon fossil fuels. The application by UKOG ran entirely counter to how the Alliance Administration at the council sees the future of the Island”.

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, Isle of Wight Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Heritage, said:

“I am very pleased that the Planning Committee voted to reject the application made by UKOG to drill for oil in Arreton. The proposal was totally and utterly inappropriate for the Island as it ran entirely counter to our status as a UNESCO Biosphere, our Tourist industry, our Climate Change Policy and all that we love and want to preserve in our local environment.

“The argument that new drilling for oil could in anyway stand alongside these things was exposed as wholly without substance. When asked to explain the economic benefits alluded to by UKOG the planning officers were unable to offer any substantiation or detail. However, what was shown and remained unchallenged was that the proposal would, at most, have led to the possibility of just a few days oil production, whereas it was clearly established that serious environmental harm would have resulted.”

“Particularly given the reference to and reliance placed upon our UNESCO Biosphere status by the Planning Committee, I hope that this evening marks a big step forward and a turning point in us pursuing and creating a new greener sustainable future for the Island, in which we work more than ever to support and protect what we value for future generations.”

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Rent Trapped Local
Rent Trapped Local
1 month ago

It’s weird to agree with the NIMBYs, but I do. Put another solar or wind farm there, not digging for fossil fuels.

fred
fred
Reply to  Rent Trapped Local
1 month ago

Agree. 🙂 They say invest up to 30 million. I the site not the island. We would not sea any of that money.

isle of wighter
isle of wighter
1 month ago

Councillors, however, did not agree with officers and instructed them to build a response that would reject the application.
……………………………….

Irrespective of your views for or against, the councillors attitude is nothing short of dictatorial – they need to remember that they are not demi gods and cannot demand that things go their way, irrespective of the opinions of others.

This arrogance by councillors is evident in the housebuilding strategies, where planners and others reject, but the council approve – this little dictators need bringing to heel or kicking out – and they wonder why they come in for abuse in public.

Hope Springs
Hope Springs
1 month ago

The Planning Committee could not have got away with any other decision. Unfortunately the National Planning Framework is so obfusc and contradictory that any half-awake lawyer could sleepwalk an appeal. The Committee knew this and worked hard to justify their decision against the “rules”. We must continue to leave UKOG in no doubt that they will be unwelcome here, with all that that might entail.

The most prominent results of last night’s meeting were that UKOG could not justify their claim of economic benefit to the Island and that the committee were unanimous.

isle of wighter
isle of wighter
1 month ago

bacon says…

The proposal was totally and utterly inappropriate for the Island as it ran entirely counter to our status as a UNESCO Biosphere, our Tourist industry, our Climate Change Policy and all that we love and want to preserve in our local environment.
………..

Shame he is isn’t as vocal on the subject of wrecking the environment by building more houses, that has more cars that use more oil, that will be imported to the UK from other countries. I bet Bacon drove to the council meeting in a car, that uses oil.

The entire housebuilding strategy is totally and utterly inappropriate for the Island

Hope Springs
Hope Springs
Reply to  isle of wighter
1 month ago

In fact he wasn’t at the meeting, most of the counillors not on the committee joined online.

Ritchie Martyn
Ritchie Martyn
1 month ago

I thought the country was supposed to go carbon neutral, why do we needmore oil ?

fred
fred
1 month ago

“they could find no benefit to the local economy”
Good enough for me, UKOG can go whistle.

I have my pot of glue ready if anyone fancies joining me and gluing themselves to their mining equipment. 🙂

Old school.
Old school.
1 month ago

They will get it on appeal, the council has to look like it hasn’t rolled over.
And of course by then the brown envelopes will have become substantially fatter. It’s all a game, with the only winners being them.

Hope Springs
Hope Springs
Reply to  Old school.
1 month ago

I think Old School needs to accept that this is a very different council from the last lot. Had you watched last night’s meeting you would have seen not a single one in favour and all trying to find ways of making a rejection stick at appeal.

Old school.
Old school.
Reply to  Hope Springs
1 month ago

A good show indeed, but as I said, it’s all a game. I do hope I’m wrong, but time will tell.

isle of wighter
isle of wighter
Reply to  Hope Springs
1 month ago

that is only because they are saying and doing what they think they need to say and do, to remain relevant, be popular and above all else – get re-elected at the next election

what they do behind closed doors is more relevant.

Joe Bloggs
Joe Bloggs
1 month ago

The council obviously wants us to be reliant on foreign fuel supplies.

Hope Springs
Hope Springs
Reply to  Joe Bloggs
1 month ago

UK’s national energy strategy is to be reliant on foreign fuel supplies while building up renewables, storage and modular nuclear. It has to be done that way and somebody has to pay for it, whether we like it or not.

Fred 2
Fred 2
1 month ago

We need to have our own supply of oil and gas ,not everyone can afford other,to rely on electric only in future is wrong as soon as a power cut no heating , cooling, transport, etc so easy for terrorist to cause death and destruction without doing much. Blow up s power station on just get a virus into national grid. They were drilling not excavating no more an eyesore than County Hall or Bardem Vectis

isle of wighter
isle of wighter
Reply to  Fred 2
1 month ago

all the protestors will have patted each other on the back, put their oil based plastic buckets and signs away, got on their bikes, that have petroleum products in the tyres, or climbed into their cars, that won’t run without oil – even electric cars need transmission fluid, which uses base oil, not to mention the fact that electric cars cannot exist without hydrocarbon products, such as the plastics used to make them lighter, as the batteries weigh so much.

In fact, petrochemicals will play a critical role in the mass adoption of electric vehicles by reducing their weight and improving their ranges and efficiency.

Fred 2
Fred 2
Reply to  isle of wighter
1 month ago

They don’t like the truth by looks of it. Wait and see in a few years !.

 

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