New research aims to test how good oil and gas companies have been in consulting with local people in south east England.
An online survey, hosted by the Green Party MEP, Keith Taylor, asks people to comment on 13 specific sites in Surrey, West Sussex and the Isle of Wight.
The list includes Leith Hill, near Dorking, where residents have complained about a lack of information from the operator, Europa Oil & Gas (DrillOrDrop report).
The survey also asks about Broadford Bridge, operated by the UK Oil and Gas subsidiary, Kimmeridge Oil and Gas. KOGL said it was “proud of the level of openness and transparency” it had shown since drilling began in May 2017. But some residents have criticised the company for failing to answer questions about operations at the site or take part in public meetings. (DrillOrDrop report)
The survey asks participants to say whether the oil or gas operator has consulted with them directly or through community engagement events before and after applying for planning permission.
The questions also include:
“If the firm has undertaken any form of engagement, do you feel you have had the opportunity to fully express your views?”.
“If you have been consulted do you feel like your views made a difference to the plans as they developed?”
The final question asks participants to rank their views on the industry’s approach to public engagement on a scale from 0 (very unhappy) to 10 (very happy).
Mr Taylor said:
“We would like to establish what is the current practice and how it could be improved.”
The oil and gas industry body, UK Onshore Oil and Gas, has said it is “committed to having an open dialogue with the public”.
Since 2013, it has operated a community engagement charter for unconventional reservoirs.
This commits the industry to
“engage with local communities, residents and other stakeholders at each of the three stages of operations – exploration, appraisal or production, beginning in advance of any operations and in advance of any application for planning permission”. Link
At least one operator in southern England have said the UKOOG charter doesn’t apply because it said its plans were conventional.
- DrillOrDrop will report on the findings of the survey.