Rathlin Energy has run out of time to complete the work programme scheduled in its planning application for an exploratory well in East Yorkshire.
The company received an extension in October last year to its planning consent for the Crawberry Hill site near Beverley. The extension allowed more time in which to test the well Rathlin drilled in 2013. There was also an option to drill a second well.
But the permission came with a condition that the work must be completed within 12 months of the decision.
In the application Rathlin said it needed at least 114 days to test the well. The tasks included: installing equipment (10-14 days), mini fall-off test (14 days) and extended well test (90 days). Drilling another well was scheduled to take 35-70 days.
The 12-month work extension ends in 88 days on 27TH October 2015. See decision notice
In November last year, Rathlin’s project manager, Tom Selkirk told a community liaison meeting the timescale would be challenging, particularly because the company had asked for an 18 months extension for the test. He said work would not start until at least the first quarter of 2015.
But Rathlin’s website confirms there has been no work at Crawberry Hill, other than routine maintenance, since the well was drilled.
One reason for the delay is ongoing negotiations with the Environment Agency over the operation of the site. Rathlin’s website says: “We are working to satisfy the pre-operational conditions set by the EA that must be met prior to any test programme commencing at Crawberry Hill.”
The discussions follow problems last summer at the company’s other East Yorkshire site, West Newton A. The flare failed to ignite at times and released unburned gases into the atmosphere. The Environment Agency found the site had breached multiple conditions of its permits.
Rathlin is also waiting for a decision on its application to change the conditions of its environmental permit. This would allow it to dispose of surface water by soakaways at both Crawberry Hill and West Newton A, rather than take it off site by tanker.
Correspondence between local campaigners and East Riding of Yorkshire Council confirms that Rathlin Energy has not given notice that work is due to start at Crawberry Hill.
According to the council correspondence, the company has not made any preliminary contact about an intention to apply for another extension of planning permission for Crawberry Hill.
Tomorrow (Sunday 2nd August 2015) campaigners against Rathlin Energy’s operations mark the first anniversary of the demolition of Crawberry Castle, a wooden structure built outside the gates of the Crawberry Hill site. An event outside the site, from 2pm-7pm, also marks the lack of activity at Crawberry Hill. Details
Health and Safety Executive investigation
The Health and Safety Executive has been conducting an inquiry since last year into working practices at West Newton A. We asked the HSE for an update. A spokesperson said:
“At this stage I have no information other than the investigation is on-going. HSE never speculates on the length of time an investigation may take as it is unhelpful to guess at timelines. Also, HSE rarely gives a running commentary on its investigations.”
“When the investigation does conclude, it is highly unlikely we would release anything publicly as it is simply not how HSE regulates industry.”
Updated 2/8/15 to correct details of the eviction of camp at Crawberry Hill and the purpose the event on 2nd August 2015. Picture replaced to show image of Crawberry Castle version 1.