UK Oil & Gas has confirmed it will submit a second planning application for its proposed exploration site at Dunsfold, south of Guildford.
The new application is expected to show a different site access road to the first proposal, submitted in May 2019.
The company is seeking permission to drill a pilot and a sidetrack well.
If approved, the wells would target gas in the Portland sandstone and deeper oil in the Kimmeridge limestones.
The company posted signs at the earmarked site last week giving notice of the second application.
Asked when this would be submitted to Surrey County Council, a UKOG spokesperson told DrillOrDrop said:
“There is no firm date.
“We had lots of feedback from our public event at Dunsfold Village Hall and a key one concerned our original access route.
“We were asked to pursue an alternative access off Dunsfold Road and this is the subject of the fresh application.”
DrillOrDrop reported that the original application had conflicting drawings of the site access.
One (above) showed the access off High Loxley Road, which has become known locally as the “dog- leg”. This was the route proposed in most of the original application.
Another drawing (see top of this article) showed a more direct access from Dunsfold Road. This is thought to be the route that will be proposed in the second application.
Reptiles and hunter-gatherers
The revised route could encounter potential planning difficulties, according to documents submitted in the original application.
There are records of two species of reptile in the area that would be crossed by the revised route.
A survey commissioned by UKOG found common lizard and grass snake in the area south of the Dunsfold Road. The report said:
“Juveniles of both species were recorded, which is indicative of resident and breeding populations.”
The report said reptiles may also be present within the well site boundary. It described the survey area was of local nature conservation value to reptiles.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it an offence to intentionally kill or injure reptiles.
The proposed new access route would also cross an area where Stone Age tools used by hunter-gatherers have been found.
An archaeological survey for UKOG, also submitted with the original application, said:
“Prehistoric activity within the search area consists of several Mesolithic flints to the north of the Site, close to Dunsfold Road.
“The Mesolithic flints … indicate some form of activity in the area, although no evidence for a settlement or temporary camp has been recorded.
“The area of the flints has been identified by Surrey County Council as an Area of High Archaeological Potential.”
- Earlier this month, UKOG updated the claim made in the original application on the contribution of onshore oil and gas to energy security. The claim had been based on a paragraph in the National Planning Policy Framework, which had been struck out by the High Court after being ruled unlawful.