Regulation

Decision delayed again on Dunsfold drilling plans

Section of Dunsfold boreholes UKOG

Proposed boreholes near Dunsfold in Surrey. Source: UKOG planning application

The decision on plans to drill two oil and gas wells near the Surrey village of Dunsfold have been delayed for a third time.

The proposals were originally expected to be decided by Surrey County Council in August 2019. The decision was postponed until September and then October. The estimated decision date is now November 2019.

A further consultation on the plans looks likely.

A spokesperson for the council told DrillOrDrop today:

“The period for the determination of these applications has been extended to allow sufficient time to address the issues raised in consultee responses, undertake further consultation/publicity on any additional information received, and fully consider the application.”

Proposals challenged

The company behind the scheme, UK Oil & Gas plc (UKOG), submitted a planning application in April 2019. It sought consent to drill wells into the Portland sandstone Godley Bridge gas discovery and into the deeper oil in the Kimmeridge limestones.

Within days of its online publication, local people were calling for the application to be suspended because of inconsistencies in the information. DrillOrDrop report

Maps accompanying the application showed two different routes for the access track. The waste management plan appeared to include information from UKOG’s Horse Hill site. The original application also referred three times to a paragraph in the National Planning Policy Framework which had been struck out earlier in the year by the High Court.

In June 2019, UKOG confirmed it would submit a second application for the scheme. This proposed an alternative access track and added 32 documents to the 88 in the first application.

190719 Dunsfold access route

Map of new proposed access route to UKOG’s oil and gas site. Source: planning application

When this second application went online in July 2019, Dunsfold residents described the proposals as “confused and muddled”. They called for all the proposals to be withdrawn because they represented an “impossible challenge” for decision-makers. DrillOrDrop report

The revised 400m access track would take lorries off Dunsfold Road, instead of the original proposal off High Loxley Road.

The new application acknowledged that nine trees and 11m of hedgerow would have to be removed to make the revised access. The route would also cross an area of high archaeological potential, a county site of archaeological importance and land used by skylark, lapwing, bats, common lizard and grass snake.

Members of Surrey County Council’s planning committee are now expected to decide on both applications at a meeting on 20 November 2019.

DrillOrDrop’s key facts and timeline on UKOG’s plans for Dunsfold

Links

Original application SCC ref 2019/0072

Application for revised access route SCC ref 2019/0108

4 replies »

  1. I say most gardens around houses are also not very nice places for skylark, lapwing bats, common lizard and grass snake, aren´t they.

  2. The largest on-shore oil site in Europe-Wytch Farm- does seem to be a very nice place for all sorts of birds and reptiles though fren.

    I even remember a report from Ruth, whilst visiting another UKOG site, detailing the butterflies and buzzards!

    But, to be proactive, and helpful, suggest an injunction would reduce the impact upon nature.

    Around 60 days I understand for HH to do its thing. Funny how this delay somehow seems to line up.

  3. Ok, Fren, So you think that we should get rid of gardens perhaps? I have an idea, let’s get a law introduced to allow oily companies to purchase gardens all over the UK just so that they can abstract as much oil/gas as possible. After all, who needs gardens anyway, moreover, what’s the point of gardens also, after all, they only harbor pesky insects, birds, animals, plants, trees, etc.

  4. Except One, the reality is there are plenty of oil deposits in the South of England that will stay where they are because they are now covered with housing estates!

    I know many who would prefer the housing estates were not there and the oil was being extracted via a small well pad. Maybe amongst those would also be pesky insects, birds, animals, plants, trees etc.? I believe Dunsfold has a similar dilemma. Maybe they will look to Cornwall where a housing development has just been rejected as an old tin mine next to the site may be re-opened?

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