Regulation

Oil company bid for more time at Broadford Bridge backed by officials

171223 Broadford Bridge drone 4 BBAG

Broadford Bridge exploration site. Photo: Broadford Bridge Action Group

Planning officers have supported two applications by UK Oil & Gas for another 18 months of work at the oil exploration site at Broadford Bridge in West Sussex.

They said the extension would have minimal impacts on people or the environment and would help to meet a need for local hydrocarbon exploration.

UKOG said it needed more time at Broadford Bridge to review data to decide whether oil extraction was viable.

The applications – one of site operations and one for security fencing, gates and cabins – come before West Sussex County Council’s planning committee on Tuesday 11 September.

A report for the committee concluded that the extension until 31 March 2020 had:

“the potential to result in impacts on the highway, local residents, and the environment.”

It acknowledged there were “a large number of objections” including from the local West Chiltington Parish Council.

But the report said:

  • The number of vehicles required to carry out work at the site “would not be significant enough to raise concerns regarding highway capacity or road safety”
  • Retaining the site would not involve any activity and the site had limited visibility
  • Restoration was over a limited time period and would not have an adverse impact on the area.

The report concluded the development would:

“have minimal impacts on people or the environment and would help to meet an identified need for local hydrocarbon exploration and appraisal.”

Planning permission for exploration, testing and evaluation of hydrocarbons at Broadford Bridge runs out on 15 September 2018. The fencing application runs out on 30 September 2018.

Permission for an exploration site was first granted in February 2013. It was for three years from the start of work. Site construction began in September 2014. Consent was extended for a year in September 2017.

The current applications were opposed by 38 members of the public, as well as the local parish council, Broadford bridge Action Group, Keep Kirdford and Wisborough Green and Campaign to Protect Rural England Sussex Countryside Trust.

  • The applications are due to be discussed by West Sussex County Council planning committee from 12.20pm-1pm. The meeting is at County Hall, West Street, Chichester PO19 1RQ.

23 replies »

  1. I quite agree with you Sylvia, but fracking is not intended in the Weald. That is elsewhere and for the production of gas.

    Oil extraction in the Weald is simply a continuation of oil extraction that has occurred along the south coast successfully for decades, on a small scale.

    Meanwhile, Fawley refinery on the Solent sees 22m tonnes of oil in and out every year and most of that is imported. That will continue for a long time to come even as alternatives are developed. That oil production and transport will release more carbon into the atmosphere than if it were produced locally to the refinery. The taxation from production of that imported oil will be kept in the producing countries who MAY invest some into alternative energy development. Perhaps UK has the opportunity to do the same? There is a pretty good established model for that-the Norwegian Wealth Fund with investments worth over $1 trillion funded from oil and gas revenues and then supplying funds for other purposes.

    • I am not optimistic about how we’ll use any money generated by oil or gas revenues as all the UK governments did during the North Sea oil booming years was to fritter it away on tax giveaways usually to the wealthiest in our society. My father worked in the oil industry in Bahrein during the war then for Shell. As a teenager in the ‘60’s I used to argue with him about the world’s over reliance on oil (he was one of the first research chemists to work on plastic). His answer was that science would find the answer going forward. Well science has and continues to find the answer to new energy sources but still the financial interests of the oil industry and short term political interests rule. No wonder our young people feel so helpless about their future as older generations just don’t want to change. Hats off to the 15 yr old swedish girl who is making her stand.

  2. I think you will find Sylvia a heck of a lot of the N.Sea income was indeed frittered away, because of high unemployment and a dramatically high benefits bill. If the UK had managed to control unemployment then that could have been avoided. Before the virtue signallers start of course under those circumstances that is the first priority, but prevent those circumstances and much more can be done with such a fund.

    I don’t agree with your conspiracy theory that oil is somehow blocking out alternative energy. If oil is more competitive then it might have an impact but largely via a threshold at which the majority of the bill payers say, “no, we will not pay that sort of premium”. Some may support the Swansea Lagoon, simply because it is alternative, but there are limits to what the government will fund with tax payers money. Mr. Musk has managed to access $billions of funds to service his business, and after 15 years it has yet to show profit and new funds are still available. Wind turbines on land in the UK were able to earn their owners £150k EACH/year, whether they were supplying into the grid or not. Perhaps it might be that there are many new energy sources that need more work and development, funded privately, to show how good they can be before others will stump up money to expand. There have been plenty that have cost tax payers money and failed.

    • Where there is a political will there is a way. If the true total cost of certain power sources such as oil, coal,gas and nuclear power had been applied right from the start we’d have been further down the road to new energy sources. It’s not a conspiracy. The fact is that for nearly a century foreign policy for much of the West has been determined by the hunt for and control of oil. The 20th Century unfortunately has consumed much natural resources merely for profit. I do fear for the future if there is no real change in outlook on alternative energy by governments.

  3. You will not get alternative energy development without private investment. Governments are rubbish at such things. Private investment will flood to any project with a sound financial future. It is up to those who want to move in that direction to support eg. Dyson, or the Swansea Lagoon could be reborn with private backing.

    Oil is still the major power source for the world and projected to be for many years to come. That is why all the world, not just the West, has sought to have a level of control over it. I do remember the consequences in the 1970s when the UK did not have sufficient control and OPEC hiked prices by 400%. It was not pretty and those least well off suffered the most. Another good reason to replace some of that Fawley imported oil with UK oil.

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