Breaking: UKOG withdraws application for Markwells Wood in South Downs


The South Downs National Park Authority has announced that a planning application for oil drilling and production at Markwells Wood in West Sussex has been withdrawn.

The application, by UK Oil and Gas (Investments) PLC, had been due to be decided at a meeting of the authority’s planning committee next week.

The national park said the application had been withdrawn by the applicant. Further information would be available in due course.

The company applied in September 2016 to drill four horizontal oil wells and a waste water re-injection well at Forestside, Stoughton in West Sussex, near the Hampshire border.


The proposal was strongly opposed by local people. More than 2,000 people had objected to the plans, along with all the neighbouring parish councils. The Environment Agency and Portsmouth Water had also objected.



Brenda Pollack, Friends of the Earth South East Campaigner, said:

“This is fantastic news for local people and this beautiful area. Hopefully UKOG have realised that there is no place for drilling in or under the South Downs National Park. The risks to drinking water, increase in trucks on rural roads and potential air and noise pollution were all of concern to Friends of the Earth and many others. It would have had impacts far beyond the village. We hope this sends a clear message to other companies that industrialisation of our most precious areas of countryside is not wanted.”

The MEP for south east England, Keith Taylor, said:

“This is a welcome victory for the Green campaigners, environmental activists and local residents who have been providing a united opposition to these dangerous and destructive drilling proposals.”

“Markwell’s Wood is a beautiful and unique habitat and with only 2% of Britain being covered by this important ancient woodland I am extremely happy that it is going to stay that way.”

“The triple threat of water supply contamination, wildlife and biodiversity loss, and local community and woodland tourism harm has been averted, for now.”

“It is one small, but important, victory in a region-wide fight against oil and gas drilling plans that will see the beautiful South East countryside pock-marked with wells. New oil and gas drilling operations are an affront to local communities.”

More local reaction here

UKOG made a statement to investors on 3 May 2017. Link to DrillOrDrop report here


DrillOrDrop’s key facts and timeline about Markwells Wood

South Downs National Park planning page for Markwells Wood


25 replies »

    • The fact that UKOG placed an application without any understanding of the surrounding geology or knowledge of the movement of water in the area highlights how little this company knows.

      You would have thought they would have been smart enough to get into discussions with the EA during pre planning.

      Very unprofessional.

      No wonder no one wants this industry as a neighbour

    • OK so let’s keep importing oil from countries that don’t care about the environment! Costs the UK more and the ships that transport it produce more carbon emissions and employ cheap labour. Great win, I don’t think so!

      • Fascinating, so you admit that o&g extraction destroys the environment!
        That is an own goal isn’t it?
        I have no say in what happens abroad, if I did, I would oppose it there too. The truth is we don’t need fracking gas, browns gas can be produced now cheaply in as great a volume as we need, there is no pollution, no need to partition off vast tracts of land, no need to pollute water, land, or air, burning browns gas is simply produced from electrolysised water and as an exhaust produces only water.
        Solar, wind, wave and Tesla energy will cover all the other requirements, they are what we should be investing in.
        Why do we not invest in those here and across the world? Go ask your industry and your own government.
        Don’t come crying to me saying I never told you.

  1. Disaster for this country.
    We are importing gas and oil from countries with lower standards than ours at greater risk as they are being transported by tanker.
    We need the revenue to invest in green energy.

  2. Wow! fantastic news and well deserved for all at Markwells Wood and beyond. Well done all 😀 Anyone fancy a game of dominoes?

    • You won’t say that when you paying 20% more to heat your home from energy sourced from across the continent. How is that saving the planet?

  3. Who’s selfish, Andrew ? Do you mean the conservationists ? Don’t you care about clean air and water ?

  4. “This is a welcome victory for the Green campaigners, environmental activists and local residents who have been providing a united opposition to these dangerous and destructive drilling proposals.”

    Actually it is nothing to do with the above entities. It has been withdrawn because it would have been refused planning permission due to the simple fact that the EA and Portsmouth Water were maintaining their objections. If these objection had been lifted the application would have gone ahead and been approved, either at planning committee or on appeal. It is unusual for the EA to maintain an objection so clearly the grounds were sound.

    You antis just don’t get it do you? You are not relevant to the planning process.

    Markwells Wood will be replaced with another application on a site which will be pre agreed with the EA etc. and it will be approved.

    Before you all go off on one, I agreed some time ago that this specific site should not be approved.

    • Paul – guess what? You are 100% correct in your comment above:

      “In order to progress the acquisition of new site-specific hydrogeological data over and around the Markwells Wood drilling pad, the Company has temporarily withdrawn its planning application to the South Downs National Park Authority (“SDNPA”).

      ” The application is now planned for resubmission later in 2017 after the completion of the planned data acquisition and upon the conclusions of ongoing technical conversations with the Environment Agency (“EA”).

      “In order to address the EA’s last-minute submission of 4 April requesting that new site-specific data be acquired over the site to confirm the validity of the submitted Groundwater Risk Assessment, UKOG requested that SDNPA delay the determination of the Markwells Wood project from their planning committee meeting of 11 May to the 13 July 2017.

      “This period would have enabled necessary acquisition and dialogue to be completed. Disappointingly, this request was refused by SDNP. Data acquisition has commenced, and is expected to be completed before the summer.

      “The Company now also intends to take this opportunity to apply for a full EA permit covering the first phase of the proposed development, with a view to including this as part of the resubmission of the planning documents.”

      • Let him who is without stim, karst the first throne.

        Pardon me, we didn’t mean to call into doubt this undoubtedly beneficent procedure of The Great And Glorious God Frack, us mere mortals are such little insignificant creatures compared the the omnipresent Lord OhandGee of all wisdom and knowledge from the nether realms, please forgive our miserable failure to bow down to receive our deserved fate to serve The Great And Glorious God Frack and be sacrificed and experience the joy of paying for the privilege.
        Heaven forbid.

  5. Yet again. . Why is Drill or Drop Privy to this information before am RNS has been released. Leaky leaky! Again not independent with potential insiders.

  6. Just a clarification here for Mrs M. that the anticipated fossil fuel extracted was to be oil, not gas, so nothing to do with costs of heating as over 70% is used for transport (UKOG figures). The majority of our gas is imported from Norway.
    Additionally at the moment and for the foreseeable future we have no revenue from any resources we take from the ground in the UK to invest in green alternatives, since the industry at the moment is predicted by the OBR at the last budget to cost the taxpayer £1.1bn per year in lost revenues until at least 2020. This due to the massive tax cuts given the industry. The industry claims to make no profit according to their tax returns. In 2009, before the cuts they were supplying £11bn to the UK economy.

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