Egdon Resources says it has submitted another planning application for oil production at the Wressle site near Scunthorpe.
This is the third application for the site to go before North Lincolnshire councillors.
Last year they refused two previous applications, against the advice of planning officers (details here and here). Early this year, a planning inspector dismissed Egdon’s appeals against the refusals (details).
The company said in a statement yesterday that it believed the new application “comprehensively addresses the reasons for the refusal of the original planning applications and the subsequent appeals”.
In refusing the previous applications, councillors said there was not enough information to convince them that the scheme would not have an impact on people and the environment. The previous schemes had included options to use acidisation and proppant squeeze techniques to improve the flow of oil.
A key concern about the previous applications had been whether groundwater was at risk from Egdon’s proposals. There was disagreement at the public inquiry into the company’s appeals about whether the aquifer was protected by impermeable rocks.
The planning inspector said the company had not shown that unacceptable adverse impacts to groundwater and water courses would not arise from the development.
He said the company had not carried out a ground condition report or provided enough evidence on the adequacy of the geosynthetic liner.
Egdon said its new application included what it called “an independent Ground Investigation Report which evaluates and confirms the underlying ground condition at the wellsite”. This used information from geotechnical site investigation boreholes drilled earlier this year, the company said.
On the site liner, Egdon said it proposed to install a new high-density polyethylene (HDPE) impermeable membrane above the existing liner.
Egdon also said it had updated its hydrogeological assessment for the new application. It said this work “conclusively demonstrates the presence of laterally continuous capping layers to the underlying aquifers”.
Egdon’s Managing Director, Mark Abbott, said:
“The submission of this new planning application is the culmination of a significant amount of detailed and thorough work by our team of specialist consultants and advisers”.
Mr Abbott added that the company intended to establish a community liaison group and a community fund to “ensure the local community were kept fully informed and share in the benefits of the Wressle development”.
“We hope that North Lincolnshire Council will recognise the positive changes made to the proposed development when determining this planning application and we remain available to address any remaining questions or concerns which may arise during the consultation and determination process.”
The application is not yet on the North Lincolnshire Council planning website. DrillOrDrop will report in more detail when the application has been published and follow it through the planning system.
Egdon also has an application with the council for retention of the site. The inspector ruled that it should be restored by 28 April 2018. But Egdon has applied to extend this for a further 12 months.
Elizabeth Williams, of Frack Free Lincolnshire, said:
“This kind of “permission creep” is widespread in the Industry.
“It’s shocking that Egdon Resources are attempting to extend their permission which expired on the 28th April 2018. The Planning Inspectorate instructed that the Company must exit and fully restore the site by that date. They have made no attempt whatsoever to comply.
“It is also shocking that it wasn’t until we ‘citizen scientists’ as well as North Lincolnshire Council’s legal, planning and hydrology consultants gave evidence at the Public Inquiry that all the errors and oversights have been identified.
“How can we trust that the company will do what it says? In any case, there can be no failsafe system of mitigations against environmental damage and pollution.
“Oil and gas extraction is a high-risk, damage-limitation activity. And there can be no margin for error where groundwater protection is concerned.
“Above and beyond all this fossil fuel must stay in the ground if we have any chance of averting climate change disaster risks.”