Regulation

Three new applications for Europa’s oil exploration site near Leith Hill

Leith Hill eviction 170621 Dan Harvey 7

Vehicle leaving the Leith Hill oil site after the eviction of a protest camp in June 2017. Photo: Dan Harvey

The company behind oil exploration near Leith Hill in Surrey has submitted three new planning applications for the site.

Europa Oil & Gas is seeking another three years to drill a well at Bury Hill Wood (also called Holmwood) after the original permission ran out last week.

It also wants to drop a previous obligation for a lorry holding area away from the site.

Europa has additionally applied to extend the period of permission for security fencing and facilities and the underground drilling corridor.

Surrey County Council has said the applications will be decided by its planning and regulatory committee, rather than a planning officer. The earliest the applications would be decided is a committee meeting on 21 November 2018, the council said.

The council also said there would be a 30-day public consultation on the applications. At the time of writing this had not formally opened. Comments would be received up to midday on 20 November 2018, or a day before any later committee hearing, the council said.

Leith HIll eviction 170622 Rob Harbinson5

Eviction of protest camp at Leith Hill oil site, June 2017. Photo: Rob Harbinson

Details

Exploration application

Europa’s first application – 2018/0092 – seeks to extend by three years the period of the permission to drill and explore for oil. It also seeks to remove the need for the holding area for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

The application runs to 90 documents and includes an environmental statement, dated July 2018, of more than 1,000 pages.

Technically, the application seeks to vary two conditions set by a planning inspector when Europa was granted planning permission in August 2015 after a public inquiry. This application is being dealt with under Section 73 of the Town and County Planning Act which allows developers to change or remove conditions to a consent.

The only work carried out at the Bury Hill Wood site since permission was granted in August 2015 has been construction of water monitoring boreholes and the eviction of a protest camp.

Condition 3 of the 2015 permission said the work must be carried out and the site restored by 7 August 2018, three years after the inspector’s decision.

Europa seeks to make the duration of the permission six years from 2015. It does not explain why the work was not completed in the time granted.

Condition 19 of the 2015 permission required a Traffic Management Scheme, including details of a remote HGV holding area, to regulate the movement of lorries to the site.

The Traffic Management Scheme (TMS) has not yet been approved by councillors. The campaign group, A Voice for Leith Hill, says the TMS is now on its 14th version.

One sticking point has been the location of the HGV holding area. DrillOrDrop understands that Europa failed to get permission for sites at the Ryka Café car park off the A24, Cobham services on the M25 and a layby on a dual carriageway near a slip road to the M25.

In the new application, the company said the holding area was no longer needed because it had changed the construction method of the site access road from stone to aluminium trackway.

Europa said:

“This change has resulted in a reduction in the numbers of HGVs required and therefore the method by which the HGVs are managed to ensure no impacts on the road network needs to be updated.

“When the proposed access road was to be constructed in stone large numbers of HGVs were required and in order to queue HGVs off-site. With the change in construction methodologies the use of an aluminium track will not need the same number of HGVs, consequently there is no need to queue HGVs off-site and therefore the holding area is no longer needed and this change needs to be reflected in the Traffic Management Scheme.”

The permission set in 2015 included Condition 4 which limited work at the Bury Hill Wood site to 18 weeks. This condition has not changed in the new application.

bury-hill-wood2-lhag

The lorry route to the Bury Hill Wood site in Surrey. Photo: Leith Hill Action Group

Security fencing and facilities application

The second application – 2018/0093 – seeks to extend permission for security fencing and buildings on the site for another three years.

This application was approved in May 2018 with the same expiry date as the main drilling permission. It was opposed by the residents’ groups, Leith Hill Action Group and A Voice for Leith Hill, the local councillor, Hazel Watson, and people in the area. (DrillOrDrop report)

The new application again seeks permission for 2m high security fencing and 3m high deer fencing, as well as an office and toilet at the site entrance, along with welfare accommodation, water and fuel tanks and a generator. It increases the footprint of the whole development by about a third.

The inspector who granted the original drilling permission said there should be no additional fencing or buildings.

Leith Hill Action Group has called for this application to be incorporated into the drilling application. The group’s most recent newsletter said:

“We think that this insistence on continuing to treat the applications for the original site and the enlarged site (to include the security fencing and facilities) as separate applications risks never admitting to the true size of the site and the extent of the impacts.  Why are they insisting that they are separate and “free-standing” applications?  Because the 2015 permission has a condition that explicitly forbids any additional buildings or fencing beyond those then approved.

“The rational thing to do would be to let the present permission lapse and make a fresh, comprehensive application which is honest about the true size and duration of the whole development – and includes a workable Traffic Management Plan as an integral part of it, not an afterthought.”

Drilling corridor

The final application – 2018/0094 – seeks to extend permission for three years for an underground drilling corridor. The current permission expires on 25 September 2018. Surrey County Council said there were no other changes to this application from the original granted in September 2015. (DrillOrDrop report)

Permission granted for disputed oil well at Brockham

Update on permission on IGas site at Albury (see final section of post)

22 replies »

      • Well folks its Sunday and i wondered what to do today, but perhaps following the world wide events we see and hear everywhere, maybe lets look at what is causing the present worldwide climate change acceleration and what is actually going on here?

        This is California, fires like no one has ever seen before, this has been the case over the entire world for three or four years now. Possibly the result of too much methane released into the atmosphere and soaked in the ground from the actions of oil and gas extraction?

        ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqS5IR0X8d8&feature=em-uploademail )
        .
        I have friends in America, Canada and Portugal and France and it has been the same story there, out of control fires in areas around the fracking sacrifice zones.

        Fires that seem to act differently to any seen before, like living things consuming everything in their path, in residential areas, the fire storms are leaping from house to house and car to car, melting the steel of alloy wheels into puddles and the doors of garages into slag heaps, but ignoring the trees between.

        The video evidence shows that the houses themselves are the targets or the source of combustion and are reduced to ashes, not just collapse under the weight of their structure as is normal in a house fire, the very bricks are reduced to dust and the steel reduced to slag?

        Possibly because the fabric of the houses themselves are soaked in fossil fuel products and fuels and perhaps also the latest “boon” accelerator of electromagnetic sources such as high frequency “wi fi” and so called “smart meters”, “dumb meters” more like, and the increasing roll out of the biological cellular structure destroying 5g radiation. It is well known now that 5g is interrupted and reflected by trees, and that is why there is a program of tree cutting in most countries now to allow 5g to be implemented.

        So now we not only provide the fuel for our own private hell, we now provide the tinder and the spark too? We have been soaking our atmosphere in methane and the years of fossil fuel abuse have accelerated climate change, we have now provided the very conditions of our own demise and provided the lit match, why are we so surprised?

        Perhaps this is what nature is telling us, we have allowed these technologies to blind us from simple common sense and intelligence, we have gone too far too fast without a moments thought of the consequences. Like so much of the new god of science, never to be questioned, it is not what we can do that matters, it is what we should do that is important. Just forging ahead without ever considering what happens when all these so called advances come together and then we act all surprised when these devastation’s happen.

        Well now we know. We have no excuse now, we either stop this profit motive insanity or we suffer the consequences. Time to call a halt and to re-examine exactly what it is that we are doing before we cannot stop sliding down that slippery slope towards our own extinction.

        Its the result of all this barely understood race for fossil fuels and high tech but low intelligence internet of things insanity being thoughtlessly rolled out and joining together to produce the only possible result.

        Devastation and destruction of the very homes we live in.

        There are record temperatures everywhere, only exceeded by three years, 2015, 2016, and 2017 and they are fast being overturned by this years records and fire storms.

        We are supposed to be intelligent creatures, so what do we do now we really do have this infamous and illusive evidential data now? We have the answers to our present failures and that is to institute renewable resources as a matter of urgency, it cant be any plainer or more obvious than it is? The solution has been staring us in the face for decades now, and still we turn away and pretend its not happening? How dumb is that?

        Just forge ahead to make profit for the few at the expense and the lives of the many?

        Time to end the farce now before we too get consumed by the greed of the few.

        This is a link to a free e-book about Deep Green Resistance and the way of non aggressive resistance to this present self destructive regime. This is well worth reading and contemplating.

        https://deepgreenresistance.net/en/preface/about-the-authors/

        Well have a good Sunday with family and friends and remember this present debacle is only a step to the future, and it more presents us an example of the redundancy of the present greed and avarice of the few over the many than anything else, what we do about that is well described in that link to the Deep Green Resistance e-book than anything else.

        If i get time today i may post something more uplifting than fire and brimstone, which i have just realised, is actually a very appropriate phrase for our present situation?

        • I thought considering the place and the events, that this from “Les Miserables” might suit, with some changes of course.
          With apologies to the musical based on the novel Les Misérables by French poet and novelist Victor Hugo. Premiering in Paris in 1980, it has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and original French-language lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, alongside an English-language libretto with accompanying English-language lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer.

          Slightly altered to:

          “Les Frackerables”

          “Monster Of The House”

          My band of fracking jokes, my den of dissolutes
          My methane dirty smokes, my twister sister pollutes
          My sons of bores (no, no, no, no not tonight)
          Spend their lives in mortal spin,
          Gloating prisons homing in
          They deny through their jaws,
          And they crawl in on all fours

          Welcome, Monster, sit yourself down
          And meet the best spincreeper in town
          As for the rest, all of ’em crooks:
          Rooking their guests and cooking the books
          Seldom do you see
          “Honest” men like me
          A “gent of good intent”
          Who pretends to be

          Monster of the house, doling out the harm
          Ready with a dodgy handsnake and an open spam
          Sells a fossil tale, makes a little stir
          Customers appreciate a little shiver
          Glad to do a friend a waiver
          Doesn’t cost me to be vice
          But nothing gets you nothing
          Everything has got a little price!

          Monster of the house, keeper of the zoo
          Ready to relieve ’em of a pound or two
          Watering the wine, making up the weight
          Pickin’ up their frick-fracks when they can’t see straight
          Everybody loves a keyboard
          Everybody’s chasm friend
          I do whatever I pleases
          Sleaze! Won’t I bleed ’em in the end!

          Monster of the house, quick to catch yer eye
          Never was a poster lie to post them by
          Burden to the poor, sucker to the grate
          Comfort blanket, confiscator, and lifelong hate!
          Everybody’s doom companion
          Everybody’s millstone weight
          But lock up your valuables
          Squeeze! Won’t I skin you to the bone!

          Crude beyond compare. Screwed beyond belief
          Sell it to a minister and pretend it’s gold leaf
          Drill ‘em no remorse, fatten up the cat
          Fracking up the hostages with glib and gas
          Residents are more than welcome
          Bridal suite is occupied
          Reasonable charges
          Plus some little extras on the side!
          (Oh Satan!)

          Charge ’em twice the price, extra for the lies
          Two percent for looking in the mirror twice (Hand it over!)
          Here a little slice, there a little cut
          Three percent for sleeping with the window shut
          When it comes to fixing prices
          There are a lot of tricks I knows
          How it all increases, all them bits and pieces
          Sleaze! It’s amazing how it grows!

          (Oh, sorry love
          Must get something done about that)
          I used to dream that I would meet a price
          But God Almighty, have you seen what’s happened since?

          Monster of the house? Isn’t worth my spit!
          Comfort blanket, confiscator and lifelong shit!
          Cunning little brain, regular Voltaire
          Thinks he’s quite a lover but there’s not much there
          What a cruel trick of nature landed me with such a louse
          God knows how I’ve lasted living with this bastard in the house!

          Monster of the house!
          Monster and a half!
          Comfort blanket,confuscater
          Don’t make me laugh!
          Burden to the poor, sucker to the grate
          Hypocrite and toady and inebriate!

          Everybody bless the overlord!
          Everybody bless his courthouse!

          Everybody raise a glass
          Raise it up the monster’s arse
          Everybody raise a glass to the Monster of the House!

          Always a pleasure, have a great Sunday.

          • As the France24 website notes this is about preventing future oil and gas development not curtailing current operations: “The measure would essentially kill development of shale oil and gas in mainland France and in the country’s overseas territories, but does nothing to curb ongoing exploration or extraction projects involving conventional oil and gas,” says the website.

            http://www.france24.com/en/20170623-france-stop-giving-oil-exploration-licences?ref=fb

            The measure would essentially kill development of shale oil and gas in mainland France and in the country’s overseas territories, but does nothing to curb ongoing exploration or extraction projects involving conventional oil and gas.

            Hulot argued that abruptly ending previously approved exploration licenses and extraction permits would expose the government to costly lawsuits from energy firms. “France’s budget can do without that, believe me,” he said.

            The minister’s announcement on Friday received a lukewarm response from environmentalists who wanted Hulot to adopt a harder line.

            “There are at least 55 exploration licenses that were previously approved and will likely be extended, and 132 extraction permits awaiting approval,” said Juliette Renaud, a fossil fuel industry expert with Friends of the Earth, lamenting these are exempt from the bill as it was announced.

            The proposed ban will also do nothing about existing drilling. France counts 64 active oil and gas fields covering an area around 4,000 square kilometres, according to official figures. France produces only 1 percent of its own oil needs, relying on imports for the rest.

            It appeared that Hulot’s cautious approach – announcing a bill that reassures anti-fracking activists, but also energy firms already drilling for oil and gas – would be applied to a wide array of controversial and pressing environmental issues.

            • Ahh! So you admit AI and Paul, you were wrong, there are ongoing oil and gas operations in France then?
              The ban announced on Dec 21st 2017 will prevent any new Fossil fuel licences and stop all operations in France in 2040, but will not prevent ongoing existing licences.

              Thank you, I hope you and AI don’t have any more illusions in your heads about ongoing fracking in France.

              Have a nice day.

            • Phil C – where did we say there are no “ongoing oil and gas operations in France”? As I worked in the Paris Basin not too long ago I am quite familiar with them. The Paris Basin geology is very similar to the oilfields in southern England including Hampshire where I also worked. Don’t let facts mess up your story though….

              Last time I checked Vaca Muerta was in Argentina and the Barnet Shale is in Texas? Argentina is in South America not France?

            • Where did I say it was not?

              You said it was “In Phil C’s head?

              I proved to you it was not.

              Don’t let facts mess up your story though….

            • “I have friends in America, Canada and Portugal and France and it has been the same story there, out of control fires in areas around the fracking sacrifice zones.“

            • Paul says: “Phil C – where did we say there are no “ongoing oil and gas operations in France”? As I worked in the Paris Basin not too long ago I am quite familiar with them. The Paris Basin geology is very similar to the oilfields in southern England including Hampshire where I also worked.”

              From the link:

              “There are at least 55 exploration licenses that were previously approved and will likely be extended, and 132 extraction permits awaiting approval,” said Juliette Renaud, a fossil fuel industry expert with Friends of the Earth, lamenting these are exempt from the bill as it was announced.

              The proposed ban will also do nothing about existing drilling. France counts 64 active oil and gas fields covering an area around 4,000 square kilometres, according to official figures. France produces only 1 percent of its own oil needs, relying on imports for the rest.”

              http://nofrackingfrance.fr/

              http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=fr&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fnofrackingfrance.fr&sandbox=1

              Oil and Gas Exploitation / Production France

              The Mining Code (Article 21) stipulates that hydrocarbon mines may be mined only when a concession has been granted . According to the Mining Code, during the period of validity of a research permit, only the holder can obtain a concession. The holder of a research permit may freely dispose of the extracted products.
              Valid licenses
              List of valid concessions:
              Source: database made by Nicolas Daures.

              Name Code Detailed info
              Andoins C71
              Bagneaux C55
              Bonrepos-Montastruc C21
              Bremonderie C64
              Castera-Lou C35
              Cazaux C10
              Champotran C37 Info-Champotran-C37
              Charmottes C61
              Chartrettes C7
              Château-Renard C12
              Chaunoy C30
              Coulommes-Vaucourtois C14
              Courbey C68
              Courdemanges C32
              Desiree C49
              Dommartin-Lettrée C62
              Donnemarie C25
              Eschau C47
              Fontaine-au-Bron C48
              Big city C34
              PEI, Gord C58
              Itteville C60
              The White Cross C52
              Lacq C3
              Lacq-North C45
              Severe C31
              Laméac C33
              La Motte Noire C70
              Lavergne C17
              La Vignotte C74
              The Arbutus C54
              Pines C56
              Les-Mimosas C73
              Lucats-Cabeil C19
              Lugos C15
              Malnoue C38
              Meillon C20
              cherry C69
              Mothes C6
              Muehlweg C76
              Nesles C77
              Nonville C75 Info-Nonville-C75
              Parentis C5
              pechelbronn C1
              Pécorade C22
              Pézarches C59
              fishwife C50
              Proupiary C4
              Saint-Firmin-des-Bois C13
              Saint-Germain-Laxis C46
              Saint-Marcet C2
              Saint-Martin-de-Bossenay C8
              Scheibenhard C40
              Schelmenberg C39
              Sivry C67
              Soudron C27
              Tamaris C72
              Trois-Fontaines C26
              Vert-la-Gravelle C66
              Vert-le-Grand C53
              Vert-le-Petit C51
              Vic-Bihl C24
              Villeperdue C29
              Vulaines C65

              Dear AI, now you can do your own research, then it will be in your head…….

      • Regarding Leith Hill, the choice is simple refuse permission on 7th August as the operators have not fulfilled their conditions

          • Dear me Paul, are we going to have to argue out every single point now?

            Or is that only the flat cat fat cat frack hat on your head?

            Now the France ongoing oil and gas diversion is out of the way, let’s move to the topic in hand shall we?

            Failure to fulfill regulated conditions are not a “choice” they are a contractual failure for Europa to fulfil its side of the agreement and are a breach of the conditions under section 3 of the 2015 permission.

            The TMS has not been approved either, that is also a condition, and that is now in it’s 14th dismal incontinent incarnation, another failure within the 7th August compliance date.

            I should know I have objected to them so often they are indelibly imprinted on my hard drive.

            No it is not choice, it is contractual obligation.

  1. The giant “ponzi scheme” moves to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain:

    “Shale drilling has roughly doubled American oil and gas production, and made the country a major hydrocarbon exporter for the first time in decades, but the shale revolution has been slow to spread beyond a handful of countries.

    The practice of hydraulic fracturing — blasting through hard shale rock with high pressure mixtures of water, sand and chemicals — has proved to be highly controversial in many countries, especially in Europe. Shale formations in China appear to be more complex to drill than in the United States. Western sanctions have limited shale exploration and production in Russia.

    But interest in shale exploration and production is growing in the Middle East and North Africa. Last month, Bahrain announced that it had found a major shale oil and gas field in waters off its coast. Halliburton is drilling appraisal wells to evaluate how much oil can be recovered.

    A senior executive at Algeria’s state oil company Sonatrach said last week that the company was seeking cooperation with Exxon Mobil to develop the country’s shale gas.”

    “Leave it in the gound”?

    Better start campaigning in the Middle East and North Africa…..

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