Opponents of plans by Egdon Resources for long-term oil production near Scunthorpe congratulated councillors for opposing a fourth application by the company.
North Lincolnshire’s planning committee voted unanimously against Egdon’s request for another year of consent for the Wressle site. DrillOrDrop live updates
The vote was against the advice of planning officers and looks likely to lead to another appeal by Egdon.
Last year, the council turned down two bids by the company to produce oil for 15 years. The schemes included an option to use hydrofluoric acid to improve the flow of oil in sandstone rocks. They also refused an extension of planning permission.
Campaigner Elizabeth Williams, who spoke against the application this afternoon, said:
“North Lincolnshire Councillors are local and national heroes yet again.
“Approving this application would have opened the door to certain acid fracking.
“We know this because it is in the substantial variation to the company’s environmental permit. The Environment Agency said the permit allows hydraulic fracturing for conventional oil using acid squeeze. Acid squeeze is synonymous with acid fracking.”
A planning inspector dismissed appeals by Egdon against the refusal of permission for oil production. But he allowed an appeal on more time to restore the site. The company was ordered to finish the work by the end of April 2018. About a fortnight before the deadline, the Egdon applied for another year.
The company said today it always intended to submit a new production application. Restoring the site while that application was pending would not be commercially viable, it said.
Its representative told councillors that an extra year of planning consent would allow the production application, now submitted, to be decided and avoid the company doing unnecessary work.
But councillors accused Egdon of breaching local and national planning policy and failing to comply with the inspector’s ruling on site restoration.
The company’s managing director, Mark Abbott, and David Bramhill, of the leading shareholder Union Jack Oil, watched as councillor after councillor criticised Egdon’s operations. No councillors spoke in the company’s favour.
DrillOrDrop asked Mr Abbott to comment on the outcome but he declined. He later said in a statement:
“The decision of the Committee is clearly disappointing given that the application had been recommended for approval by North Lincolnshire Council’s own professional planning officers, that an appeal for a previous refusal of such an application had been successful and that we have recently submitted a new application for the development of the Wressle oil field which we strongly believe comprehensively addresses the reasons for the refusal of the original planning applications and the subsequent appeals.
“We intend to appeal this decision without delay and will begin preparing documentation on receipt of the Committee’s decision notice.”
“Fight goes on”
Melanie Dale, a speaker against the scheme who was brought up around Wressle, said:
“We will stand against the next application. The local community does not want this in the region. We will campaign against it any way we can.
“I have spoken to many, many people and not one person wanted this development. We are really pleased that North Lincolnshire Council has listened to them. How many more times are Egdon going to come back?
“We do not want acid fracking here or anywhere else in the country. It is time to leave fossil fuels in the ground.”
Another speaker, Andrew McLeod, argued against the application on climate change grounds. After the meeting, he said:
“I am surprised. I thought that this application would be approved.
“I am pleased that the councillors listened to what the community has said. I think we are making progress with this planning committee.”
Reporting at this planning meeting was made possible by individual donations from DrillOrDrop readers