Proposals by Angus Energy to continue oil production from its Lidsey site until 2028 have been supported by officials at West Sussex County Council.
The company’s planning permission for the site near Bognor Regis lapsed in February this year. But a report by planning officers has recommended that production from the two wells should be allowed to continue for another 10 years.
The report, to be considered at a meeting of county council’s planning committee next week (24 April), has also recommended relaxing some conditions that previously applied to the site.
The company has applied to retain the existing two wellheads and boreholes to enable renewed production. The planners’ report said Angus was not seeking to extend the site, intensify activity or carry out physical works.
The report concluded:
“The production of oil to maximise the remaining reserves would help to meet an identified need for hydrocarbon production with minimal impacts.”
The continued use of the site would result in a low number of traffic movements, estimated at ten heavy goods vehicles in and out a week, the report said. This was not enough to raise concerns about road safety, it said. It added that the site was just off the A29 and vehicles would travel to it by this and other A-roads.
The report said the site was well-screened and would not have “an adverse impact on the character of the area”. The development complied with local and national planning policy, it added. The report concluded:
“It is considered that the proposal is acceptable subject to the imposition of appropriate conditions to control the potential impacts.”
The Lidsey site is 600m from the nearest village and about 400m from the nearest homes.
Planning permission was first granted in 1985. The first well, Lidsey-1, was drilled in 1997. Angus drilled a horizontal well, Lidsey-X2, in autumn 2017. Last month, a statement from the company said the site was producing 191 barrels a day.
The application prompted nine comments, eight against and one in favour.
The objections included those from the Bognor Regis & Chichester Green Party, Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP for the South East of England, and Keep Kirdford & Wisborough Green.
The key concerns included:
- Angus Energy’s finances and record of complying with planning permissions
- Age and state of the Lidsey-1 well
- Site monitoring
- Water, light, air and noise pollution
- Extraction of further fossil fuels
- Security concerns
- Adverse impact on local ecology
- Risks of horizontal drilling and acidisation
- Geological faulting
- Proximity of the site to residential properties.
There were no objections or comment from Arun District Council, Barnham and Aldingbourne Parish Councils, the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive, Sussex Police, the local county council and other council departments.
The report recommended there was no need for the previous legal agreement requiring traffic to arrive from and leave to the north of the site. The planners said the creation of the Bognor Relief road meant traffic could now travel south without going through residential areas.
It also said that a previous condition on a maximum noise level of 35dB(A) at nearby homes was no longer necessary because there would be no drilling.
The planners did, however, recommend that a previous condition should continue, prohibiting site HGVs using the exit onto the A29 from the water treatment works. This access track joins the A-road on a double bend. The condition was recommended again for highway safety reasons. Another recommended condition would prevent site lighting at a level that could be seen from nearby homes.
- The meeting of West Sussex County Council’s planning committee is on Tuesday 24 April 2018 at 10.30am, at County Hall, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1RQ