Disappointed opponents of oil exploration at two sites in Lincolnshire granted planning consent this morning have complained that councillors did not listen to their objections.
The county council’s planning committee voted unanimously to approve proposals by Egdon Resources for the sites at North Kelsey and Biscathorpe. DrillOrDrop live updates
Egdon Resources welcomed the decisions and predicted that Biscathorpe could be drilled in a matter of weeks and North Kelsey by the end of the year.
But Amanda Suddaby and Elizabeth Williams (pictured above), who made statements to the committee, said their concerns had been misrepresented.
Egdon was seeking to extend permissions for drilling and testing at both sites for three years. Under previous consents, the only work carried out by the company had been construction of the site entrances.
Mrs Suddaby told the committee Egdon had already breached planning conditions on the North Kelsey site. She said soil had been removed without an archaeological survey. Delivery lorries had come to the site from the wrong direction, over a railway level crossing, against a traffic condition.
Paul Foster, representing Egdon, said the company was not aware of vehicles coming into the site from the wrong direction.
“That wasn’t us”, he said.
But after the hearing, Mrs Suddaby said:
“I was there and I saw it. No one in that room was there and yet they still contradicted me.
“We are constantly being told that breaches will not be allowed. But they have already breached three conditions. No one has noticed. This is hard to comprehend.
“Our voice is not being heard”.
During the meeting, an objector in the public gallery shouted that her village had not been formerly consulted on the Biscathorpe application. The council’s planning officer, Neil McBride, said the parish council and villagers could have contributed comments.
Mrs Williams told the committee there would be thousands of distressed people if the Biscathorpe application were approved.
The committee’s vice chair, Cllr Thomas Ashton, said he doubted there would be a thousand people in a five-mile radius of the site. The councillor for the neighbouring ward, Lewis Strange, however, said there were 700 in one village alone.
Mrs Williams also raised concerns about emissions from the proposed flare at the Biscathorpe site.
The mining waste permit, issued by the Environment Agency last year, allowed for the burning of waste gas up to 10 tonnes a day. It set arrangements for monitoring emissions from the flare including total volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulphide concentrations.
Mrs Williams had asked councillors:
“How can this not affect human health and the local environment?”
But the planning officer, Neil McBride, told councillors that flaring would be used only in emergencies. He said waste gas would be used to generate electricity.
Mrs Suddaby said opponents would continue their campaign against the two sites.
“If there is a way, we will try. We have to try.”
“Progressing drilling plans”
Egdon Resources welcomed today’s decisions.
Managing Director, Mark Abbott, said:
“We are pleased with today’s decisions to extend the planning permissions as it enables us to progress our drilling plans at both the North Kelsey and Biscathorpe conventional oil prospects.
“For Biscathorpe-2, following recent farm-outs on this well, we now look forward to drilling this high potential conventional oil prospect with operations commencing around mid-2018.
“We hope to conclude further farm-out negotiations for North Kelsey-1 shortly enabling drilling to be targeted around the end of 2018 providing a further material near-term catalyst for Egdon.”