Regulation

UKOG to file new application for Surrey drilling site

190531 site location plan Opus

Dunsfold proposed access track (in red) expected to feature in a new planning application. Source: UKOG/OPUS

UK Oil & Gas has confirmed it will submit a second planning application for its proposed exploration site at Dunsfold, south of Guildford.

Notice of second application

Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

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.

190531 site location plan Zetland

Dunsfold original proposed access track in red. Source: UKOG planning application – map by Zetland Group

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.

Map of reptile survey UKOG

Map showing records of reptiles and original “dog-leg” access route (red). The new proposed access route would cross the orange area at the top of the map. Source: UKOG planning 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.

Map of archaeological importance

Map of archaeological finds with the original “dog-leg” access route in red. The brown wedge north of the access route is an Area of Archaeological Priority because of flints dating back to the mesolithic period of the Stone Age. Source: UKOG planning application

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.

5 replies »

  1. Grass snakes and common lizards are found in most rural areas in the south of England. There are simple, and well tested methods of removing them from sites under development, relocating to a safe area and excluding them from returning to the development site until the site is safe again for them to inhabit. Bit like a wildlife injunction.

    Nice to see Gold Standard consultation from UKOG, regarding the access.

  2. UK snakes are useful, Jono. Suspect you would prefer to import much nastier snakes from overseas that would damage UK environment. Hmm-snakes in a ‘plane. Plenty of opportunity at Gatwick. Loads of anti venom around, so no problem!

    I have a friendly grass snake in the garden, that we call Sid. Very popular, maybe misunderstood by a few uneducated. He doesn’t seem excessively hungry as the frogs also thrive.

    Loads of nice snakes around Wytch Farm, including some pretty rare and popular ones. A positive, nature reserve.

    • Reticulated python (man eating) loose in Cambridgeshire!

      Should be easy to deal with a few grass snakes then, Jono.

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