Listening panel hears objections from councils and residents to UKOG’s Dunsfold drilling plans

190723 WBC listening panel1

Waverley Borough is preparing to object to plans for oil and gas drilling near the Surrey village of Dunsfold, the council reported this evening.

The news came at the council’s first ever listening panel, organised to hear the views of local residents and organisations.

The three-hour session heard from 22 people, who all objected to the scheme. They included representatives of parish councils, local businesses, community groups and residents.

There were no presentations in support of the scheme. The applicant, UK Oil & Gas (UKOG), was invited but did not attend.

Waverley Borough is a statutory consultee on the application. It said the listening panel would shape its response to Surrey County Council, which will make the final decision.

Planning officers said the application had insufficient information on issues such as the impact on wildlife habitat, hedgerows and trees, highways, noise, archaeology, lighting, noise and air quality. They also said they wanted more detail on the choice of the site and the effect of the development on climate change.

The application is for three years, to construct a well site and drill and test two wells. UKOG wants to explore the Portland sandstone for gas and the Kimmeridge limestone for oil.

The application has an access track off High Loxley Road (left). A second application was published last week with an alternative access of Dunsfold Road (right).

“Applications should be withdrawn”

Stephen Hayward, Dunsfold Parish Council

190723 WBC Stephen Hayward

Cllr Hayward told the panel the parish council objected to both applications and called for them to be withdrawn.

He said a public meeting in the village had raised concerns about the possible release of hydrogen sulphide or sour gas from a further well. He said this had been found in the Portland reservoir in a well drilled at Godley Bridge. He called for independent monitoring of air quality before and during any operations, paid for by UKOG.

Cllr Hayward said there should be a legal agreement on the route used by lorries and a requirement that heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) should not start deliveries until after 9am.

If the site were found to be commercially-viable, oil should be transported by pipeline, not tanker, to limit the impact, he said. If this was not acceptable to UKOG then Dunsfold was not a suitable site.

“Oil rush in the Weald”

Chris Britton, Alfold Parish Council

190723 WBC Chris Britton

Cllr Britton said Alford Parish Council also objected to the scheme.

“The decision reached by Surrey County Council will set a precedent for what is rapidly becoming clear is an oil rush in the Weald which could affect all our lives for generations.”

He referred to proposals by IGas to drill two more wells “a few fields away” from the Dunsfold site.

Waverley Borough Council should submit a “robust response”, reflecting residents’ concerns and highlighting what he said was the UKOG application’s lack of compliance with the National Planning Policy Framework.

Several hundred residents in the villages of Alfold and Bramley live within 500m-600m of the Dunsfold site and would be directly affected, he said. Thousands more people would be moving to the area to new homes at Dunsfold aerodrome.

Direct adverse impacts on their quality of life, such as noise, light pollution and traffic, had been dismissed by UKOG, he said. These impacts were “entirely contrary” to Waverley Borough Council policies.

190723 WBC rig section

The 37m drilling rig would be a few hundred metres from the edge of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Cllr Britton said.

UKOG comments that the site would be screened by woodland could not be trusted, he said. This was managed forestry that could be felled at any point.

The transport statement made no reference to the safety of road users, he said. The second application moved the access road closer to the site of a fatal accident and to homes.

If the oil reserve was confirmed to be what UKOG predicted, from 12-300 million barrels, it would result in a total of 60,000-1.5m tanker journeys.

Referring to recent seismic activity near the Horse Hill oil site, Cllr Britton called for moratorim on drilling.

“Wildly irresponsible”

Natasha Fletcher, SW Surrey Labour Party

190723 WBC Natasha Fletcher

Ms Fletcher called for the Waverley to object to the application.

Speaking at the branch’s climate change coordinator, she said it was “wildly irresponsible” to search for more fossil fuels.

She said the 1.5 degrees limit of global warming would be exceeded if known reserves were burned.

Surrey County Council had declared a climate emergency earlier this month and should now “rule out any search for carbon minerals”.

She said the application was against UK government and Surrey County Council policies.

“It is a threat to the well-being of our local community, our children and our planet.”

190723 WBC Chris Neill

“We need our councillors to be activists”

Chris Neill, Extinction Rebellion, Godalming

Mr Neill said “the vast majority” of Waverley residents were against the UKOG plans.

“We expect you listen and represent them”.

He called for a survey of residents to justify what he described as “determined resistance” by the council.

“You have a duty to represent the community against this voracious industry that puts profit before morality.”

Mr Neill said the area had to be ruthless in fighting against the onshore oil and industry. “Every new well is a nail in the coffin of our future.”

He said:

“We need our councillors to be activists, to represent our views as best they can.

“Use every regulatory means at your disposal. When they run out, then Surrey County Council should do the same.”

He urged Waverley councillors to lobby the government to change the National Planning Policy Framework.

“We need you to do everything we can think of and things that you have not yet imagined. This is simply wrong and we need you to be on our side, the side that is right.”

“Scheme would destroy business”

Tom Gordon, owner of local wedding venue

190723 WBC Tom Gordon

Mr Gordon said his property, High Billingshurst Farm, was 100m from the well site. It was the only property in the line of sight of the proposed well pad.

He said he had restored the farm into an exclusive rural wedding venue that was well-known for its tranquil setting and unspoilt views.

His clients had spent £1.5m at the venue, supporting local businesses and churches, he said.

He said some clients were looking to invest £100,000 in a wedding. They would immediately rule out the farm because of the proposed access.

Their first impression would be security staff, activists, police and injunction notices. It would destroy his business, he said. Asked if UKOG had offered mitigation or compensation, he said “no”.

Mr Gordon said he was also concerned about potential air and water pollution and seismic activity.

Unconventional oil and gas relies on back-to-back, he said. This is the tip of the iceberg. It would threaten the local economy, ecology and landscape.

“Breach of human rights”

Ashley Herman, farmer

190723 WBC Ashley Herman

Mr Herman said UKOG had got the figures wrong for the distance of local properties from the proposed well site.

He said UKOG had described his home as 350m away but it was actually 226m.

He said he promotes his livestock as reared in the Surrey Hills, not next to an oil well.

His farm hosts an annual international cancer awareness festival, at which 900 people come to learn and talk about health. The farm also offers retreat weekends for cancer patients. They are not going to enjoy that 226m away from an oil well, he said.

The farm employs 11-15 local people in an onsite brewery and up to 30 during the festival.

When the commercial forestry was felled, the well site would be exposed. It would be visible from the AONB and local houses.

Nightime noise levels would treble from the current 19 decibels, he said.

Mr Herman said the UKOG scheme could breach Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to respect private and family life and home.

He added that the UKOG vehicles would have to cross verges to access its site. These were owned by the local authority, he said.

“You can prevent right of easement and the whole thing will go away.”

“Confused application risked public engagement”

Melanie Shone, resident

190723 WBC Melanie Shone

Ms Shone said she had lived locally for 10 years and valued the peace and tranquillity at night, abundant local wildlife and clean air.

She said poorer air quality would reduce her use of High Loxley Road for recreation and would affect other users, such as cyclists and horse riders.

Increased noise and light at night would be a nuisance, she said.

She rejected the application’s statement on community involvement and she said it had missed information on the ecological impact.

She said traffic would be displaced through Dunsfold. There would also be an impact on the traveller community who lived very close to the proposed site in vulnerable accommodation.

She said any benefits relied on full development of the site. It was hard to evaluate the application because there was a mismatch between negative impacts now and uncertain long-term benefits, she said.

The second application added to the confusion. This put at risk public engagement and perceptions of fairness.

“We are being asked to be unsecured creditors”

Chris Lindesay, publican

190723 WBC Chris Lindesay

Mr Lindesay said he had lived in Dunsfold for 34 years.

He owns the village pub after a career in the city assessing risk. He said:

“UKOG represents a serious cumulative counter-party credit risk to Dunsfold, Waverley, Surrey and Sussex” .

The county council must mitigate these risk before it allows the company to do anything further, he said.

Mr Lindesay said UKOG accounts counted the costs of drilling and future costs of restoration as assets on its balance sheet. It currently reported £25m worth of intangible assets. The auditors of the accounts said given the significance of these intangible assets there was an increased risk of material misstatement. The auditors added that they could not make a comment on this.

“When you are assessing UKOG’s ability to restore our countryside, we are on our own”, Mr Lindsay said. It comes down to our confidence in the management of UKOG and its unique assessment of Weald geology.

He referred to UKOG’s Dunsfold application which said flow tests and pressure data from Broadford Bridge and Horse Hill well sites had been sub-commercial. This was why, he said, some experimental stimulation methods need to be tested at Dunsfold in the search for higher sustainable recovery rates.

Experiments at the Dunsfold site were needed for UKOG to have any hope of revenue, Mr Lindesay said.

“We are asked to be unsecured creditors to UKOG, dependent on them striking it rich at Dunsfold so they can afford to give us back our countryside as it presently is.”

If there was a failure at Dunsfold and UKOG could not pay for restoration, the responsibility would lie with the local communities, he said.

Mr Lindesay said if Surrey allowed UKOG to carry out more drilling, comprehensive security must be required “before a spade hits the ground”.

Based on UKOG’s accounts, this security should be between £7.5m and £9m.

“Oppose application to prevent harm”

Ryan Campbell, Hindhead

190723 WBC Ryan Campbell

Mr Campbell said he was concerned about the global impact of the application on climate change.

“This is not the time to consider new applications for fossil fuels”.

“We cannot beat the climate crisis by extracting more fossil fuels. By opposing this application we are preventing harm.”

Mr Campbell said

“I am proud of where I live It is beautiful. Environmental protection should be everything.”

“Risky application, risky process”

Jennifer Condiss, risk manager

190723 WBC Jennifer Condiss

Ms Condiss described UKOG as a risky application seeking to undertake a risking process.

She said the company’s business model fell apart if it could not access funds from the market place. This was a real risk, she said. If that happens the company would not be able to repair pollution or restore the site.

She described a UKOG fundraising document, which listed for potential investors the possible risks. These included: blow outs, fires, oil spills, equipment failure, abnormal pressures and seismic events.

The company said it may elect not to have insurance for some operations because of the high cost. It also said it may not be able to access funds.

Quoting the share price of 0.98p, she said “there is not support for them in the market.” The application should be denied, she said.

“Worst served site by trunk road network”

Paul Osbourne, resident

190723 WBC Paul Osbourne

Mr Osbourne said the location of the Dunsfold site was unsuitable

The site was not served by a road network suitable for industrial-scale use, he said.

“In Waverley, this site is the worst served by the trunk road network. The site cannot be accessed without using roads that are under-designed for high volume and high tonnage. It is surrounded by roads that are designated unsuitable for HGVs.”

Mr Osbourne quoted UKOG as saying the estimated 20 HGV movements a day was not significant. “For a road designated as unsuitable that really isn’t right”, he said.

“I totalled from their figures 9,280 HGV movements and that is significant and they have no plan to mitigate the impact on rural roads in the wider area.”

He predicted the site traffic would cause unavoidable damage to the road surfaces and verges. Homes on the route would be affected by poor air quality, noise and structural damage. There would be an increased risk to road users and increased delays, he said.

There would also be a cumulative impact because part of the proposed lorry route would also be used by construction traffic for housing developments at Cranleigh and Dunsfold Park.

The application is unsustainable and should be rejected, Mr Osbourne said. If it were approved, he said he had little confidence that the prescribed routes would be enforced.

“Proposal is just about money”

Alison Canton, Godalming

190723 WBC Alison Canton

Ms Canton said urged the council to object to the application. She said:

“I love living in this area. It is very unique. I brought up my children here. I am here for them.”

She said the proposal was “just about money”. There are things that stand to be destroyed that we cannot put a financial value on, she said.

“Law is waking up”

Rob Wainwright, international development specialist

190723 WBC Rob Wainwright

Mr Wainwright said the UN goals on sustainable development were undermined when the term “sustainable development” was used to describe oil and gas developments.

But he said:

“The tide is changing. The law is waking up to the disaster before us and will catch up with the fossil fuel industry.”

He said law suits against fossil fuel companies were “mushrooming” and firms were being held responsible for their contribution to damage from climate change.

Referring to the recent quashing of paragraph 209a of the NPPF, Mr Wainwright said the UK regulatory environment was changing.

UKOG should be refused permission to undermine the rights of people across the world, he said.

“Little or no mitigation for wildlife”

Matt Phelps, nature conservationist

190723 WBC Matt Phelps

Mr Phelps said the proposed site was used by lapwing and skylark in the breeding season. They were species on the UK red list – of the highest conservation concern.

The surrounding trees and hedgerows were used by birds and were foraging areas for bats. Badger movements could also be disturbed by the development, he said.

The application proposed little or no mitigation for impacts on wildlife, he said. Natural systems are very complex. Removing a tree or hedgerow may look like a minor change but it could cause a massive knock-on effects to the local ecosystems.

He said wildlife could be disturbed by increased traffic. There could be disruption of song bird communication in the breeding season and interference with the food chain and predator-prey dynamics.

Lighting at night would cause additional disturbance to bats and badgers.

Impacts of Horse Hill drilling site

Lisa Scott, Horley

190723 WBC Lisa Scott

Ms Scott lives about a mile from UKOG’s Horse Hill drilling site. She described residents there as guinea pigs for techniques not tested in other parts of the world.

She described running on the footpath about 50m from the site and feeling weak. She found out later that this was the day of the first flow test at Horse Hill. She experienced a burning sensation in her throat, which took three months to recover.

The immediate neighbour of the Horse Hill site had been unable to sell her house. Her horses had become ill, her fields had been affected by rainwater from the site and her privacy invaded by site cameras, Ms Scott said.

She said UKOG had failed to comply with the traffic management plan and failed to consider cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.

“Lacks the most basic information”

Dr Jill Sutcliffe, environmental scientist

190723 WBC Jill Sutcliffe

Dr Sutcliffe, who campaigned successfully against a prospective oil site near her home in West Sussex, said she was concerned about the lack of specific information in the application.

“This application lacks the most basic information with which to make an informed decision.”

Baseline information on air, water, wildlife and health should be gathered before any operation was permitted to begin, she said.

She said fracking was a toxic word so companies did not use it. But the North Yorkshire Minerals Plan defined fracking as the breaking of rocks underground to obtain minerals. This is the substance of the application here, she said.

Dr Sutcliffe called for a 3d profile of the site underground. She said the government had been advised there should be a setback distance from drill sites of 850m-5000m

She said the application at the UKOG drilling site at Broadford Bridge in West Sussex had predicted a 22% increase in HGVs. The actual increase was 68%, she said. West Sussex had to repair the roads and residents in the tiny village of nearby Adversane complained about noise, disruption and increased risk.

Key lessons from Brockham

Ada Zaffina, Brockham Oil Watch

190723 WBC Ada Zaffina

Ms Zaffina said Brockham Oil Watch had been formed in 2017 when Angus Energy drilled an unpermitted well at its site at Brockham, near Dorking in Surrey.

She said the group had learned key lessons:

  • Oil and gas companies cannot be trusted.
  • Regulators cannot properly police conditions.
  • Operations are very hard to police

She said the industry regulator, the Oil & Gas Authority was conflicted because its objective was to maximise production. She described the idea that regulations were gold standard as “frankly nonsense”.

She said UKOG sought to explore the Kimmeridge layers at Dunsfold. This was unconventional strata, she said, that would require stimulation. Angus Energy recently said in a statement that it could not produce commercially from the Kimmeridge well at Brockham without fracking.

“Nothing to recommend application”

Max Rosenberg, CPRE Surrey

190723 WBC Max Rosenberg

Mr Rosenberg described how Leith Hill Action Group and other groups won a nine-and-a-half year campaign to prevent Europa drilling for oil in the Surrey Hills AONB.

He said CPRE Surrey had grave concerns about what he said was “sprawling industrialisation”. Once the green belt has been blighted by any form of oil and gas development it can be rebranded as a brown field site, he said.

He described the horizontal wellbore proposed at Dunsfold as unconventional. It would require the use of acid to extract the oil, he said.

He said the application was based on information that pre-dated the Paris climate agreement. The scheme failed to represent UK government climate commitments, he said.

“There is nothing to recommend this application. CPRE Surrey recommends you refuse this application as one of many attempts to desecrate the Surrey countryside.”

Call for “strongest objection”

Patrick Haveron, Waverley Friends of the Earth

190723 WBC Patrick Haveron

Mr Haveron said the group objected in principal on climate change grounds.

He also called on Waverley to object in the strongest terms on planning grounds.

He listed the group’s main planning concerns:

  • The access from High Loxley Road would have an unacceptable impact on highway safety and was contrary to paragraph 109 of the NPPF
  • The proposed 20m boundary between the site and coppice woodland should be extended to at least 50m.
  • Hydrogen sulphide, found at Godley Bridge gas well, had not beem specifically addressed in this application

“This is a serious omission which needs to be remedied before this matter is considered by Surrey County Council’s planning committee”.

  • Concern that UKOG would not have funds to restore the site. The company should be required to provide a bond or guarantee to cover the costs.
  • Concern about the relationship between the two applications for the sites. There was a risk that the High Loxley Road access in the first application would be permitted “by the backdoor”.

“UK has moral responsibility”

Sarah Smithies and Kirstie Clough, Extinction Rebellion, Godalming

Ms Smithies (right) said one of the targets, the Kimmeridge limestone, was an unconventional formation. This mattered because unconventional rocks needs more wells.

She said it was unclear what stimulation techniques would be used. UKOG must be asked what it planned.

Ms Clough (left) said it was critical that the remaining reserves of hydrocarbons should be left in the ground.

“As the birthplace of the industrial revolution and a nation responsible for a significant proportion of man-made greenhouse gas emissions already in the atmosphere, the UK has a moral responsibility to act first and act fast.”

“Our job to resist”

Cllr Richard Ashworth, Godalming Town Council

190723 WBC Richard Ashworth

Cllr Ashworth said the application was based on an “out-dated cold war view of energy”.

“When we have seven times as many people against this as for it is our job as representatives of people to resist it in anyway we can.

“We do not want to be remembered as the authority that washed its hands of this issue.”

“Concerns will be relayed”

Cllr Steve Williams, chair of the listening panel

190723 WBC chair

Cllr Williams said the session had raised “real concerns about the future of the planet if we carry on plundering hydrocarbons”. He said this would form part of the council’s response.

He said Waverley would also consider the impact on residents, including the traveller community, the unconventional nature of the operation, highway and traffic capacity, the financial ability of the company to restore the site, the effect on local businesses and the experiences of residents near other sites.

“This evening has to be about responding appropriately. Climate emergency and other concerns may not have a direct bearing on the planning process and technical response but it is important that these concerns are relayed to councillors at Surrey.”

“We shall leave no stone un-turned to relate the concerns of Waverley residents.”

All pictures from Waverley Borough Council webcast

31 replies »

  1. Except many of those whinging were not from Dunsfold, were they Jono? Usual suspects, with standard guff. Sorry Dunsfold, this is what is in store for you when your interests will be hijacked by those who want a flame to flutter around.

    • Are you from Dunsfold Martin? Or even from the Weald?

      All these people are Dunsfold or Weald residents and their views are valid, in case you missed it there were no speakers supporting the planning application, why is that? Don’t want to engage with Weald residents unless it’s it’s done on your terms, i.e. mob handed with shaven headed Eclipse security men posing as UKOG?

      • Excellent news. A comprehensive coverage of all the reasons why we should not extract more fossil fuels. Like many other would be developers UKOG will not be able to prove the ‘need’ to extract from this particular site. We ‘need’ to reduce the amount we burn not add any extra.

        • Except it would not add extra, John, but simply replace the declining output at Wytch Farm and a little of the increasing oil imports into Fawley Oil Refinery. (Of course, some antis could reduce their travelling in their diesels, but I suspect that will not happen.)

          Meanwhile, the alternatives continue to deliver!! LOL

          Remember the photovoltaic cell roadways, to be trialled in Normandy? Failed-didn’t work, but 5 million Euro of tax payers money spent to show that.

          Oh, by the way:

          “It is clear that a significant capacity of new nuclear power plants and gas fired power plants with carbon capture, usage and storage, alongside renewables, will also be required.” (UK-Business Department.)

          How much? 30-40 gigawatts by 2050!! Current nuclear is just 9 gigawatts, all due to close by 2035. Hinkley Point C will be 3.2 gigawatts. So, at a conservative estimate, 10 times the cost of Hinkley Point C!

          All for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.

          Perhaps a bit of taxation from UK oil and gas and diesel production may be needed to fund such costs, because I will make a suggestion that once the UK public realise what is expected out of their pockets they just might decide to spend on some yellow vests instead.

    • I am a resident at Dunsfold. I was at the meeting.
      All of those who spoke had relevant and genuine concerns. Plenty were from Dunsfold, others had a direct interest, and others were there on principle. To say that it was ‘hijacked’ is plainly daft and inaccurate.

      I’m curious: What, exactly, is your agenda? Why would you dismiss this event?
      The council is listening to its constituents. This is good.
      The application is unanimously (among those there) opposed, for a myriad of reasons.
      The council listened.

      Extinction Rebellion and CPRE, etc were there too. Of course they were: they are campaigners for reduction in use of fossil fuels.
      The overarching feeling in Dunsfold is that we agree, on a local level and (in the main) on a macro level.

      The council listened.

      What is the downside? Why would you dismiss this ?

      • TB-I stated quite clearly that those attending had valid concerns. I corrected the false statement they were all from Dunsfold-you admit that was correct.

        The application is not unanimously opposed, just those who attended, which you admit.

        “Hijacked” is totally accurate. Some of those attending had clear financial reasons for objecting, which are quite reasonable, yet you straight away see some on this site who have to then try and represent those who do not object as having less valid financial reasons. A clear attempt at virtue versus demons, without any basis in fact whatsoever, and no value within a planning application. I quite understand some may want to object but to do so and try and demonise those who do not, simply diminishes the basis of their reasons for objection. It is lazy and encourages others to take that further.

        I do not dismiss such a listening exercise, but equally do not try and represent it either as more than it is, or that it will alter the process the planning application has to submit to. One of those is accuracy, and certain statements made at the listening would soon be removed from consideration at a decision meeting. Opposition to planning has to be based upon factual considerations not opinion. Opinion of various groups will be sought but the decision will come down to other considerations. That is pretty obvious, otherwise no new housing developments would take place, or they would after the relevant authority has huge costs awarded against it.

  2. Their views are valid, Dorkinian, but to represent them as residents of Dunsfold was not.

    A simple point that you tried to deflect from, but without success.

    UKOG have already engaged with Weald residents regarding this application. Indeed, they have taken account of feedback and proposed an alternative access. Again you wish to deflect from that.

    Thanks for confirming the sentiments within my last sentence of my previous post.

    And, no I am not from Dunsfold. Perhaps that gives me a different perspective? Maybe not all in Dunsfold are Nimbys and may take a view that will not be swayed by scaremongering. Inconvenient for you if that is the case, but I suspect it is the reality, and reality will hold sway over fiction when the final decision is made. And, HH is commercial-so, individuals can produce fiction around such things but the reality will surface when listening has been replaced by decisions based upon facts.

    • Martin – you are just guessing. I was in the audience and know that the speakers were from Dunsfold, Hambledon, Godalming, Haslemere, Hindhead and Cranleigh – they are residents of Waverley Borough. The other speakers were from within Surrey and had relevant statements about their experience of previous drilling in Surrey. So please don’t try to spin this to meet your agenda. Where are you from? Who is your employer? What is your point for commenting on a local council’s consultation exercise when you live 100’s of miles away?

      • G Thompson

        Maybe DOD needs a handy link to the bona fides of regular posters, as your questions have been asked many times before.

        Martin has posted many times as to his whereabouts, his present occupation ( retired if I remember right ) and hence his distance from the area.

        I live in Lincolnshire in sight of coal fired power stations and oil wells ( retired ). I have a relative who lives in Haslemere.

        Plus, maybe you should offer up your location, employment and agenda when asking if it is relevant.

        • I suspect Martin Collyer is a UKOG shareholder and is sitting on a lot of penny shares (google his name and UKOG). I am a resident of Waverley and live 8 miles from the site – hence my interest. I am a retired Surveyor.

          • Ahh, your suspicions, GT! Wrong again. Hope you did your surveying with a little more regard to what was real rather than suspicions.

            (Maybe if I was a shareholder I would prefer UKOG concentrating upon existing commercially successful sites, as many on their chat board suggest?)

            However, if you were correct and I had that interest, how is that different to you having an interest? Looking at the interests as reported at the “listening” it would seem quite a number had their own financial interests.

            Do you receive a handbook when you become an anti with all the standard guff?

            Quite interesting how a listening exercise can be so quickly trashed by those who don’t want to listen, and want to prevent others from doing so. No Surveying skills myself GT, but even I know building on sand is not going to last.

            I already live within 8 miles of an existing on shore oil site and have no concerns currently or previously, so perhaps I could be posting based upon experience rather than suspicions. Seems only fair to balance your suspicions with my experience, but I did believe Surveying was supposed to be the opposite of that. Hey ho.

            And before you get on to the B list,

            I used to live in Surrey and my wife was born there and lived there until we married. Then, we needed to move somewhere less expensive in order to get on the housing ladder.

            I have owned some shares in UKOG, but no longer having made the return I required, but still watch with interest.

            Perhaps, rather than trying to disqualify others from posting you might do better by tearing up the handbook and listening, even if some of what you hear is not to your liking.

            • “Quite interesting how a listening exercise can be so quickly trashed by those who don’t want to listen, and want to prevent others from doing so. ”

              A bit of self awareness there Martin, well done.

      • Funny that GT, when someone living in France commenting upon such matters is welcomed! Plus, a few other antis who have posted on the subject. And, of course, Planning Matters are open to consultation from all interested parties.

        I was replying to Jono’s incorrect statement.

        No, I am not employed and I do not live hundreds of miles away, but if you want to assume to make a point, you will do so.

        My point is that like you, I use oil and its byproducts. I am also a tax payer in the UK. So, I have a preference for stuff I use to be produced in UK when that is feasible and cost effective, pay some tax as a result, to either reduce the tax I pay or increase the tax pot for public services. I also would prefer those products I do use to be contributing less damage to the environment whilst I continue to use them, recognising climate change and the environment is global. SCC may find they can balance their books as well, if they increase local revenue, and not expect people-taxpayers- outside of Surrey to keep helping them out.

        I am sure USA are very grateful for UK purchasing oil and gas and then they can build their walls or whatever with the taxation. I think UK might find Social Care a better investment than building walls.

        Perhaps best not to post “spin” when you talk about “the speakers” yet then alter your position by mentioning “other speakers”. Rather gives the game away. So, no I was not just guessing. I made a totally factual and correct statement and your spin to try and mask that has just magnified that.

        • Martin – I am being factual – I was there. There were no supporting comments throughout the 3 hour meeting. I am not going to debate with you when your [edited by moderator] is clearly skewed with your self interest.

          • Hi G I see you are getting to know Martin and his ways. Don’t let him distract you from what you know is true. You were at the meeting he wasn’t.

            • Indeed, April, never let reality get in the way of spin.

              Were there not those attending the meeting, and contributing, and reported, indicating they had a financial motive regarding the planning application? Maybe you could explain why this is different to any shareholder in UKOG being financially motivated. GT couldn’t. Maybe he/she became distracted.

  3. Martin

    If you can get all the benefits of unrestricted fossil fuel availability, but without the inconvenience of living next to the source of the benefit, why would you not be against it? Maybe the threat of its arrival will encourage people to reduce its use rather than just local production.

    Meanwhile UK oil industry production decline arrested for a while due to N.Sea discoveries. But it’s all Scottish oil. English oil is a rare beast.


    Meanwhile I need to re read the North Yorkshire Minerals plan definition of fracking as it may not be …. ‘Breaking rocks underground to obtain minerals’, as that sounds like mining, so polyhalite mining would be classed as ‘fracking’ under that definition, and Sirius Minerals could be a new fracking company.

  4. Yes, indeed hewes62, regarding Sirius Minerals.

    “Strange” how the locals converted from Nimbys to welcome arms when they examined benefits, whereas the antis just continue to deny any benefits could accrue. There are still a few around the N.Y.Moors who will not change their entrenched views but the vast majority have, after listening. Exactly the same sort of issues raised during the consultation/planning process there as well.

    Ironically, TV on in the background with Greg Clark in Westminster talking about British Steel-probably his last appearance on that bench. I am hardly that convinced he will be missed by Sirius Minerals but the increasing employment will be championed and ultimately the tax revenue will be welcomed. Greta should also welcome it is not another business that UK just off-shores and then claims big success in reducing UK emissions! Which, takes us back to Surrey.

  5. Actually it is quite simple, isn´t it, just plant billions and billions of trees worldwide, and our air shall be clean again, no climate destruction.
    So if UKOG plant some trees their impact is zero.

  6. Yes, fren, I have planted some recently. However, my walnut will possibly take another 20 years before it uses up much CO2!

    But, try telling those who live on the S.Downs, for example, they should have their land covered in trees and there would be outcries on WoD (weddings or drop) or FoD (farming or drop).

    Then there are the on shore wind turbines and solar farms to remove to get the land for the trees.

    And beware of tree planting scams. For those who wish to demonise those who invest in oil/gas on AIM they should take a look at the scams for investing in “sustainable forests”. Plus, trees are then cut down for what? To burn for well controlled “projects” like the one in N.Ireland!

      • Strange, Carruthers. I thought large scale tree planting was part of the recent UK zero carbon report.

        I quite liked that bit, but did wonder about the cost and also the replacement of agricultural land currently being used for food production. Maybe food production will be added to the other industry we export that upsets Greta, within our unbalanced approach to reducing carbon.

        • Martin: Fossil fuel is a drug which humankind needs to kick, or it will eventually kill us and everything around us. And boy, are we addicted. I concede that we can’t just stop because the infrastructure and plain old invention of a replacement isn’t there – even though really we know we should just stop. Essentially the cold turkey would be too unpleasant.
          We don’t *need* any more oil or gas. The amount already known about which can be extracted is already enough to kill the planet. We don’t need any more, and shouldn’t burn all that we have access to. trees and money won’t change that.

          I really question why you’re spending so much time nay-saying on this site. Usually, understanding is the best way to an accord, or at least amicable disagreement.
          so .. what’s your agenda?

          • My agenda is simple C, and I have stated it quite clearly. I use oil and gas but am not addicted. I will continue to do so for decades to come. I will not use any more if it is extracted in UK compared to Texas, but if extracted in UK arithmetic shows that is more beneficial to all in UK, especially those less well off. Perhaps you don’t pay tax, but if you do surely you know that.

            This site has the opportunity for comment C. If you are so uncomfortable with that maybe you need a stronger argument than just trying to remove counter opinion?

            There are a number of alternative solutions I embrace but at the moment are tiny in respect of overall contribution. I have followed all of the ones that make sense to me. That does not stop some (well, many) proposing that many ready made solutions are out there and should be introduced without sound benefits being shown eg. the Swansea Lagoon, simply because they feel it might work. Meanwhile, thousands die from fuel poverty related disease in the UK every year, that £1 billion plus could remove as a stain upon this country.

            I am always amicable but will point out UK oil and gas against imported would not increase consumption, but would give profound benefits if managed properly. The biscuit barrel being available locally may act as a drug and increase consumption, but not UK production of oil and gas.

            Finally, take a look at Norway. You may see what they are doing with a huge Sovereign Wealth Fund generated from oil and gas revenues, which includes a lot of alternative energy funding. To me, that simply shows more progress is made on such investment if revenue is maximised to fund it. Recent polls in Europe and the election in Australia show that whilst people will support tackling climate change there is a pretty tight limit to their willingness to finance it and just attempting to force that through will not work-see yellow vests in Paris. So, I prefer the Norway solution, even if in a much smaller way.

      • Yes my friend Martin Collyer,

        i guess there is lots of space worldwide, please look at the worldmap…

  7. Reference the previous article on Boris:

    “As Mr Johnson travelled up the Mall for his audience with the Queen, Greenpeas protesters attempted to block his route and were bundled aside”

    A good start for the “antis”

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