Regulation

Live news updates: Lincolnshire councillors vote for site visit on Egdon drilling plans for N Kelsey

North Kelsey Egdon Resources 2

North Kelsey proposed oil site. Source: Egdon Resources

Live updates from the meeting of Lincolnshire County Council discussing Egdon Resources’ planning application to drill and test an oil well at North Kesley. Council officers have recommended the planning application be approved. The company is seeking to extend a previous permission, granted in 2014, which expired in December 2017 without any work taking place The meeting is expected to hear from the company and opponents of the scheme. 

Reporting at this meeting has been made possible by individual donations from DrillOrDrop readers.


11.36am Vote on site visit

11 councillors vote for a site visit. 1 councillor, Cllr Hilton Spratt, votes against.

Committee chair, Ian Fleetwood, says the visit is to see the location of the site but not to get involved in a debate with the community or applicant. He says he hopes to decide the issue at the next planning meeting.

Hilton Sprat Lincs CC11.34am Discussion: Cllr Hilton Spratt

Cllr Spratt says there has to be a balance. He says he was considering refusing but is now supporting the application. He says there is no reference to “any” unacceptable impact. Cllr Marianne Overton asks for the wording of local planning policy to be written out.

11.32am Discussion: Cllr Marianne Overton

Cllr Overton says a local policy, DM3, prevents development that cause unacceptable impacts If there are unacceptable impacts the proposal should be refused.

Chair Cllr Ian Fleetwood, says this could be assessed at a site visit.

Paul Skinner Lincs CC11.26am Discussion: Cllr Paul Skinner

Cllr Skinner says the residents are getting a raw deal on this site. The responsibility of the industry to the community had not been considered, he says. He also raises concern about a lack of information about the number of vehicle movements.

Planning officer, Marc Willis, says the previous application estimated 126 lorry movements to and from the site over seven days in the initial drilling phase. During testing, there would be a slackening off. These numbers have previously been deemed acceptable by the Highways Authority, he says.

Stephen Kirk Lincs CC11.24am Discussion: Cllr Stephen Kirk

Cllr Kirk says he can understand why the development did not go ahead, because of the oil price. This is an economic activity.

He says “I have absolute sympathy for the objectors”. There is no reason why the oil price might not fall again. If I lived in that area, I would not want that hanging over my head.

He says there are no planning reasons to refuse. One might come up if we go on a site visit. He supports the move for a site visit.

Daniel McNally

11.23am Discussion: Cllr Daniel McNally

Cllr McNally (right) says nothing has changed since the last permission was granted. He agrees there should be a site visit.

David Brailsford Lincs CC11.19am Discussion: Cllr David Brailsford

Cllr Brailsford (left) says he can’t see any planning reasons to refuse the application. But he says there are many local concerns. If we grant planning permission, what state will Smithfield Road [on the route to the site] be in, he asks. He asks whether the committee can require Smithfield Road to be returned to an appropriate state.

The planning officer says this cannot be required as a condition. It is a temporary development, he says. A further application for production would look at highways issues separately.

Cllr Brailsford formally recommends a site visit.

Marianne Overton

11.11am Discussion: Cllr Marianne Overton

Cllr Overrton asks when the necessary work required by the Highways Authority began. She asks whether it was before the permission expired. Mr Willis, the planning officer, says the highway work was carried out under original conditions.

Cllr Overton asks again whether this happened before December 2017 before the permission expired. This is something we need to be clear on, she says.

North Kelsey Egdon Resources 1

Site entrance work at Egdon’s North Kelsey site, required by Lincolnshire Highways Authority. Photo: Egdon Resources

Cllr Overton raises local and national planning guidance, which prevents developments which cause unacceptable impacts.

Mr Willis says nothing has changed in the proposed development at N Kelsey.

It still complies with local and national planning guidance, he says, even though a new local plan has been adopted.

The committee chair, Cllr Ian Fleetwood, says the application is being judged against the new development plan, which is more stringent.

Cllr Overton says the guidance says there should be no unacceptable impacts.

11.06am Marc Willis, planning officer, responds

The planning officer responds saying the damage to the verges may not be attributable to the development.

He says the Highways Authority says the scheme is acceptable.

The development is temporary, he says. The council can consider the extension even though the permission has expired.

This is a conventional drilling operation, he says. There’s no question about other operations, he says.

There has nothing that has changed nationally or locally to make the proposal unacceptable in land use planning terms, Mr Willis says.

Mr Wills adds Egdon is seeking to drill and test for three years. If this were successful, another application would be needed for production.

11am Local county councillors

Herbert Turner Lincs CCThe local county councillor, Cllr Herbert Turner (left), calls for a site visit before the decision is made.

Cllr Lewis Strange (below right), the neighbouring county councillor, says there has been a lot of local concern.

He says the committee should listen to the reasons for rejection or delay a decision for a site visit.

He says a similar project a Wressle had been closed down by N Lincolnshire Council and a planning inspector.

Lewis Strange lincs ccCllr Strange says there genuine concerns about extraction methods. This committee should insist that there be no deviation from normal oil extraction be even contemplated.

He says the route to the site is only 3m. It is not designed for heavy lorries carrying rubble for the site or road tankers. He says a road junction to the site is “extremely dangerous” with a blind bend.

He says the lives of the local farming population could suffer as a result of the application. He calls for the committee meeting to turn down the application until after a site visit and further discussion.

10.54am Questions to Paul Foster

Cllr Fleetwood, the committee chair, says the price of oil is not a planning issue. Paul Foster, for Egdon, says it costs up to £3m to drill a borehole. The company needs to be happy to pursue this. This is the reason for the delay, he says.

Cllr Fleetwood asks about availability of the rig. Mr Foster says he would have to refer this to the company managing director, Mark Abbott.

Another councillor asks what would happen if the price of oil fell again. Mr Foster says it is commercially-viable to undertake the exploration at the moment. There is no reason why oil should fall below $60 a barrel.

Cllr Marianne Overton asks whether there are enough parking places on the route because the verge had been damaged. She also asks Mr Foster to comment on residents’ concern about the depth of stone on the site. They said it should be 600mm, rather 300m as  planned.

Mr Foster says lorry drivers comply with terms and conditions. He said the Environment Agency was happy with 300mm.

Paul-Foster-175x23310.51am Paul Foster for Egdon

Paul Foster, a planning consultant, says Egdon needs another three years to source the drill rig, drill the well and restore the site.

He says opponents have raised issues that were addressed in the original permission. He says Egdon is not seeking to frack and there is no shale oil or gas.

Mr Foster says there is a long history of oil exploration in the county.

He says the road to the site is narrow but therea is “excellent visibility”.

He adds that the recent rise in the oil price has allowed Egdon to resume operations at sites near North Kelsey.

He says there has been no evidence of damage to groundwater at any Egdon sites.

He asks for the temporary permission to be extended.

10.40am Opposition speaker: Amanda Suddaby

Amanda Suddaby, an opponent of the scheme says the original planning permission slipped under the radar because many people were not aware of what was going on. She says there were errors in the original application. She asks the council to consider the whole application, not just an extension of the duration.

Mrs Suddaby, speaking for local residents, asks the council to consider Egdon’s short-comings at Wressle, another site in North Lincolnshire, where permission was refused at a public inquiry. She says the committee should require a new and more detailed application.

This development has been hanging over us for three years, with great uncertainty. she adds. Fighting back tears, she says, there will be another three years, followed by possibly 20 years of production if oil is found.

The delay was not unavoidable, she says. The timing was just not convenient. Please do not allow this without much scrutiny, she says. There were 83 objectors online, she adds.

She asks the committee to refuse the application.

10.35 Details of the scheme

A planning officer, Marc Willis, says the development is unchanged from the original permission. The additional time will allow Egdon to complete the work, which had been delayed because of the low price of oil and delays over another site near Scunthorpe.

The officer says there has been opposition from local county councillors and parish councillors. There have been more than 60 objections from members of the public. These include concerns about traffic and the

The officer says most of these issues have been considered when the permission was first granted.

The principal for development has been established, he says. There has been a change in the local plan but the proposal still complies with local and national planning policy.


Ian Fleetwood Lincs CC10.30am Meeting underway

Committee chair Ian Fleetwood, opens the meeting


Reporting at this meeting has been made possible by individual donations from DrillOrDrop readers.

Categories: Regulation

3 replies »

  1. Thanks for the report Ruth.

    Apologies for cutting and pasting from the text above.

    “11.06am Marc Willis, planning officer, responds
    The planning officer responds saying the damage to the verges may not be attributable to the development.

    He says the Highways Authority says the scheme is acceptable.

    The development is temporary, he says. The council can consider the extension even though the permission has expired.

    This is a conventional drilling operation, he says. There’s no question about other operations, he says.

    There has nothing that has changed nationally or locally to make the proposal unacceptable in land use planning terms, Mr Willis says.

    Mr Wills adds Egdon is seeking to drill and test for three years. If this were successful, another application would be needed for production.”

    The trouble with the usual “The development is temporary”, is, that it is far from being temporary, it has been demonstrated time and time again, that these temporary works are more like a foot in the production door, and that the planning permissions will be continuously reapplied and modified to the point where works are permanent and under production from such a small start.

    Production by stealth.

    That is how the operators treat such submissions and that is how they should be handled as a proposed full production facility and all the appropriate conditions and restrictions applied from the start..

  2. Many years away Paula and if you know how much oil will be extracted, and at what price it will be sold, you may be able to calculate the financial health over 20 years hence.

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