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has announced that a planning application for oil drilling and production at Markwells Wood in West Sussex has been withdrawn.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The national park said the application had been withdrawn by the applicant.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.”
UKOG made a statement to investors on 3 May 2017. Link to DrillOrDrop report here