Regulation

Climate and wildlife objections to 25-year Dorset oil production plans

Puddletown drilling impression

Artist impression of proposed South Western Energy oil drilling site at Puddletown, Dorset. Source: South Western Energy Ltd planning application

Plans to produce oil for 25 years near the village of Puddletown in Dorset have prompted local objections and national concerns.

Opponents have argued that it conflicts with Dorset’s declaration of a climate emergency.

The scheme could also threaten protected wildlife, including barn owls, dormice, bats and great crested newts, experts have argued.

South Western Energy Limited (SWEL), the company behind the proposal, described it as “a farm diversification scheme” that would generate employment and energy.

The company said a single vertical conventional oil well would be drilled into the Cornbrash, Bridport Sands and Sherwood Sandstone formations. The scheme would not involve fracking.

It said:

“The drilling and production will not have any impact on the local community or environment being properly managed through the planning and environmental permitting procedures.”

But the local Puddletown parish council has objected to the application, saying:

“The proposal will have an adverse effect on the natural environment, biodiversity and rich wildlife”.

The government’s wildlife adviser, Natural England, and Dorset Wildlife Trust have criticised what they say are flawed ecological assessments that accompanied the application.

At the time of writing, 53 people had commented on the scheme. All but one objected. Their main reasons were the impact on climate change, noise, air pollution, water contamination, traffic, effect on wildlife and the rural landscape.

The single supporter said the scheme was no different from Wytch Farm, also in Dorset, the largest UK onshore oil field.

The application, unusually, seeks permission for all three phases of oil operations, including appraisal and production, as well as exploration.

It is one of the first applications for sites in licences granted under the 14th round in 2015. Ineos Upstream is the only other company to have applied for planning consent for land in a 14th round licence area.

Dorset County Council has estimated a decision date in early March 2020.

Objections and concerns

Natural England said the application had not recognised the presence of barn owls. The proposal would result in loss of foraging area which “may compromise survival rates”, it said.

The proposal could also lead to loss of habitat or compromise populations of great crested newt and bats, both protected species.

Dormice were also known to be nearby and it was unclear if the application had considered the impact on them, Natural England said.

It said the bird survey had not been carried out at the best time of year and the application was unclear whether hedgerows, likely to be ecological corridors, would have to be removed.

Natural England added:

“It should be noted that the land in question has received many years of environmental stewardship grant funding for the benefit of the environment funded by the public purse.”

It would be “prudent”, the organisation said, to ensure that this public investment had not been wasted.

Natural England and Dorset Wildlife Trust said the ecology report which accompanied the application surveyed an area that was “far smaller” than the redline boundary of the application.

Both organisations pointed out that SWEL’s habitat survey did not follow best practice because it failed to consult the local record centre. The application also did not include a detailed restoration plan, they said.

Puddletown Area Parish Council, in its online objection to the application, said:

“Dorset Council has declared a climate emergency. How can it then authorise the development of an oil well?”

The parish council said the access track to the site, that could be used by up to 8 oil tankers a day, was also a bridleway. It asked:

“Has the rights of way liaison officer been consulted? The Parish Council considers this to be unacceptable. There are already limited areas for horse riders and the access to these areas is becoming more and more difficult through increased vehicular use of byways and bridleways.”

“No objections”

The local highways authority had no objection to the application. It said the vehicle access was suitable and the proposal would not have an adverse impact on the local highway network.

Dorset’s landscape officer also had no objections but asked for further information on restoration plans.

Key points in the application

Source: South Western Energy Limited planning statement 

Puddletown site location Google Earth

Location of South Western Energy’s proposed oil site (circled). Source: Google Earth and South Western Energy

Application number: WD/D/19/002866

Applicant: South Western Energy Limited (SWEL)

Date application received: 18/11/2019

Date application validated: 03/12/2019

Description of development: Construction of a site compound and drilling of single vertical well for oil production

Purpose: Production of oil from the Cornbrash, Bridport Sands and Sherwood Sandstone.

Site address: Land off Athelhampton Road, Puddletown, Dorset DT2 7LJ

Exploration licence area: PEDL327, in which South Western Energy has a 100% stake. Awarded in the 14th licensing round.

Distance from nearest homes: Not given in planning statement

Site size: 1.23ha, including area of access track of 0.85ha.

Current use: Privately-owned for maize cultivation.

Site access: Via existing tracks, part of which is a bridleway.

Proposed road access: Via A35, A354 and Athelhampton Road to private farm track. The operator proposes to bring the drilling rig in the early hours of the morning.

Landscape designations: 1.25km from Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Nearby wildlife sites: 6 sites of county importance for nature conservation within 2km, including Burleston Down, which is 330m away

Registered parks and gardens: 1km from Athelhampton House and Park

Ancient monuments and listed buildings: 6 scheduled ancient monuments within 2km, including the deserted village of Bardolfeston which is closest. There are 58 listed buildings within 2km.

Nearest water: 150m from Devil’s Brook, which enters the River Piddle, 1.1km from the proposed site. The River Piddle flows into Poole Harbour.

Source Protection Zone (SPZ): The site is close to, but not in, a Zone 1 (inner protection zone) and Zone 2 (outer protection zone).

Applicant’s justification: Long history of oil and gas exploration and production in the area with Kimmeridge being one of Europe’s most prolific onshore oil provinces. The Wytch Farm field extracts oil from the Bridport Sands and Sherwood Sandstones. “Oil is critical to transport requirements and will likely remain so in the near term as cars may be adapted to electrification and alternative fuels but aircraft, shipping, military vehicles and large goods vehicles are currently, due to their engine capacities, less adaptable to conversion.” Oil is also a feedstock for plastics and vinyls.

Proposed depth of well: Approximately 1,800m

Site selection: Based on review of historical records and atomic dialectic resonance testing.

Transport: Oil would be taken by tanker to the Fawley refinery. The application says “it would not be feasible at this time to transport the hydrocarbons via pipeline”.

Job creation: 15 contractors during site construction work

Puddletown site location

Location of South Western Energy oil site at Puddletown, Dorset. Source: South Western Energy Ltd planning application

Proposed phases of development

1. Site establishment

Duration: 2 weeks

Hours: 8am-6pm

Operations: site levelling, installation of temporary security fencing, cabins and site equipment, including drilling rig, pumps, tanks, compressors, boosters, generators, offices, toilet and stores.

Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) movements: 12 two-way (12 in and 12 out)

2. Well drilling

Duration: 8 weeks

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week

Operations: Drilling and casing well. The application says the well will “generally be drilled using air as the drilling fluid”. Water-based fluid could be used if air cannot lift cuttings to the surface. The application says there will be monitoring for levels of methane, oxygen, carbon monoxide, radon and hydrogen sulphide. Geophysical probes will test properties of the well, including electrical resistance, temperature, rock density and sonic resistance.

HGV movements: 19 per week, 110 additional deliveries over the course of drilling and a further 9 movements (time period unspecified).

3. Testing

Duration: 2 weeks

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week

Operations: Electrical submersible pump (ESP) installed in the bottom of the well. If flow rates demand it, a beam pump may be fitted. The site will be monitored for pressures, and gas and water levels.

HGV movements: 10 (though unclear over what time period)

4. Construction of production site

Duration: 10 weeks

Hours: No details

Operations: If there are commercial volumes of oil, the well would be pumped with an ESP or beam pump. Oil would be held in storage tanks and collected by tanker.

HGV movements: 1 tanker per day, 20 additional deliveries over the course of the construction period plus 11 other movements.

5. Production of hydrocarbons

Duration: 20-25 years

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week

Operations: Oil, water and gas would be pumped into via a three-phase separator into separate storage tanks. Gas would be converted to LNG and transported by tanker. A generator would supply power to the site. Monitoring would check on pressures and gas and water levels.

HGV movements: Up to 8 oil tankers per day, plus up to 6 water tankers per week.

6. Restoration

Duration: 2 weeks

Hours: No details

Operations: The Application said the well would be plugged and abandoned and the surface “restored to a condition similar to, or better than, prior to commencement of work”. Equipment and fencing would be removed and top soil returned.

HGV movements: 20 movements over the period of restoration, plus 5 two-way movements (in and out) for excavators, drilling rig, dumper and vehicles collecting fencing and barriers.

Puddletown production impression

Impression of production phase of South Western Energy’s Puddletown site in Dorset. Source: South Western Energy Limited planning application

Key issues – what the applicant said

Planning policy

SWEL said the application complied with national and local planning policies.

Landscape

In one section, the application said:

“The development will not cause significant adverse effects on the character or visual quality of the local landscape.”

But it also said:

“the development will have a limited impact on local character; the site is not prominently visible from the main public road network, views of the site are fleeting and mostly obscured.”

It did acknowledge that the site could be seen from the nearby bridleway

Ecology

The application said:

“The site does not lie within the boundaries of any internationally, nationally or locally designated wildlife sites and will cause no adverse effect on local wildlife and habitats.”

It described the site as of “low nature conservation importance”

These assessments have been questioned by the government’s nature conservation adviser and Dorset Wildlife Trust (see Objections and concerns)

Green infrastructure

“The proposed operations will not hinder or cause harm to the development of the local green infrastructure network.”

Heritage

The application said:

[There is] “a sufficient distance for the development to cause no adverse effect” on heritage assets

Flood risk

There is a less than 1 in 1,000 annual probability of river and sea flooding, the application estimated. Measures would prevent surface run-off entering Devil’s Brook.

Farming

“the proposed development would have no adverse effect on the continuation of the landowner’s agricultural activities”

Pollution

The application said:

“The development will ensure that sufficient, stringent prevention and mitigation measures are in place to curtail the risk to ground water and surface water. … The well itself will prevent risk to groundwater by lining the well with steel casings and cement.”

Water encountered in the well would be tankered off the site to a licensed waste facility.

Noise

The application estimated that noise at nearby receptors during site construction “should be below 49dB LAeq, 8 hour at all times”. This was regarded as acceptable.

During drilling, noise at Waterbarn Cottages would be about 42 dB LAeq, the application said. It said night-time noise from the site inside the properties would be 27 dB LAeq when windows were open. Drilling would be heard because of the very low background noise levels at night.

Noise barriers would be installed on perimeter fencing to absorb noise from the site and around noisy equipment.

Other measures to reduce the noise impact include “no unnecessary revving of engines” and “no shouting on site”.

Smell

The application said the site was “not expected to generate or release any unpleasant odour”.

It later said there may “a slight release of hydrocarbon odour for short periods” during tank inspections.

Light

No light pollution would overspill the boundaries of the site, the application said.

Dust

Drilling nor hydrocarbon production would generate dust, the application said. A wheel wash facility would be available for vehicles visiting the site.

Vibration

The risk was assessed by the applicant as “zero”.

Employment

Daily inspection of the well would create “some direct jobs”, the application said. It added that the development would contribute to an industry supporting “thousands” of employment opportunities.

 

26 replies »

  1. Contact people in Lancashire and they will tell you how it spoils the landscape destroys the area we have suffered nine years of lies ,breaking planning planning issues .Our lives have been ruined for a long time fighting to save our beautiful country side Contact Tina Louise Rothery she will come and talk to you.Dont give in ever NO FRACKING ANYWHERE Marie Taylor

    • Fracking Marie Taylor? Did you read the post above? To save your eyes I will copy the relevant section below:

      “The company said a single vertical conventional oil well would be drilled into the Cornbrash, Bridport Sands and Sherwood Sandstone formations. The scheme would not involve fracking.”

      I assume you are okay with none fracked conventionals and therefore support this planning application in Dorset?

      Send the Grannies and Tintin in – that should help…..although I think Tintin may be too busy in Norway.

      I am in Lancashire and there is little to no impact of oil and gas operations on the landscape – perhaps they should contact me? Perenco may be a better bet….

    • Lives have been ruined?, fighting to save your beautiful countryside?, a bit of an overstatement I must add! Have you ever visited Wytch Farm?,
      I have, its idillic in a SSI location and hidden, and producing FF.
      Now to put it in to relative perspective, a lot of Australians LIVES have been ruined!
      This is a fact! Talk about having your cake, and eating it!

  2. Interesting choice of location by South Western Energy Limited (SWEL)? Tolpuddle and Puddletown is the famous location of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. And the area has a high degree of natural and ecological protection by the residents and the country as a whole.

    https://www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk/

    “In the 1830s life in villages like Tolpuddle was hard and getting worse. Farm workers could not bear yet more cuts to their pay. Some fought back by smashing the new threshing machines but this brought harsh punishments.”

    “In 1834, farm workers in west Dorset formed a trade union. Unions were lawful and growing fast but six leaders of the union were arrested and sentenced to seven years’ transportation for taking an oath of secrecy. A massive protest swept across the country. Thousands of people marched through London and many more organised petitions and protest meetings to demand their freedom.who which eventually led to the Trade Union movement.”

    If it was thought that opposition was strong elsewhere, Puddletown and Tolpuddle will be much stronger than that, regardless of whether it is fracking or some other method not called fracking.

    I havent been there for years, i think i will go down an ask the locals what they think.

    I wonder who was the single supporter who likened it to Wytch Farm? Its nothing like Wytch Farm, that is on the coast and the horizontal bores are out to the bay and beyond. Puddletown and Tolpuddle are landlocked. What a curious thing to claim?

      • It will be very similar to this? Did you read the post above? To save your eyes I will copy the relevant section below:

        “The single supporter said the scheme was no different from Wytch Farm, also in Dorset, the largest UK onshore oil field.”

        Nope, not “very similar to” the claim was “no different from” not the same thing at all, chalk and cheese, but hey! Maybe the phrase was corru….the “c” word?

        TinTin And The Prisoners Of The Sun…..

  3. Hmmmm

    More like Whisby or any of the wells in Notts and Lincs, or the Beckingham oilfield.

    The Mail got a bit excited about that one a while ago.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2396378/50-year-old-fracking-site-makes-mockery-Balcombe-zealots-Its-nature-reserve–fracked-gas-oil-power-21-000-homes-day–complaints-locals.html

    But, the nature reserve is doing well, and barn owls and so on prosper round the odd oilwell. Maybe less around the factory chicken sheds, new housing estates at al that are popping up.

    https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/beckingham-marshes/

    Meanwhile, I look forward to Dorset being self sufficient in oil production ( or closing all fuel outlets tomorrow ) as they have declared a climate emergency. Just as ..desperate to keep flying to Newquay Cornwall ..is keen to keep the hydrocarbon ball rolling while also declaring an emergency.

    https://www.climateemergency.uk/blog/cornwall-2/

    Tho to be fair Cornwall has a plan.

  4. Strange comment from an “engineer”. I thought the “choice of location” was something to do with where the oil was, or thought to be?

    Meanwhile, our very historic islands will inevitably have some element of history around every point on the land surface.

    How many great crested newts compared to the sand lizards the Tesla car plant will displace in Germany?

    • Strange comment from an “non engineer”? So, you thought the “choice of location” was something to do with where the oil was, or thought to be did you? No it has to do with the environmental climate emergency as declared by the government.

      Meanwhile, back in the real world, our very historic islands will inevitably have some element of history around every point on the land surface. So such an industrial development should be more careful of where they place them, considering the “very historical” opposition to exploitation that would present far stronger opposition to such a development on environmental grounds alone, let alone political grounds, than almost anywhere else.

      Apologies for copy and paste Paul and Ruth but as usual the facts need to be repeated to selective readers:

      “Objections and concerns
      Natural England said the application had not recognised the presence of barn owls. The proposal would result in loss of foraging area which “may compromise survival rates”, it said.

      The proposal could also lead to loss of habitat or compromise populations of great crested newt and bats, both protected species.

      Dormice were also known to be nearby and it was unclear if the application had considered the impact on them, Natural England said.

      It said the bird survey had not been carried out at the best time of year and the application was unclear whether hedgerows, likely to be ecological corridors, would have to be removed.

      Natural England added:

      “It should be noted that the land in question has received many years of environmental stewardship grant funding for the benefit of the environment funded by the public purse.”

      It would be “prudent”, the organisation said, to ensure that this public investment had not been wasted.

      Natural England and Dorset Wildlife Trust said the ecology report which accompanied the application surveyed an area that was “far smaller” than the redline boundary of the application.

      Both organisations pointed out that SWEL’s habitat survey did not follow best practice because it failed to consult the local record centre. The application also did not include a detailed restoration plan, they said.

      Puddletown Area Parish Council, in its online objection to the application, said:

      “Dorset Council has declared a climate emergency. How can it then authorise the development of an oil well?”

      The parish council said the access track to the site, that could be used by up to 8 oil tankers a day, was also a bridleway. It asked:

      “Has the rights of way liaison officer been consulted? The Parish Council considers this to be unacceptable. There are already limited areas for horse riders and the access to these areas is becoming more and more difficult through increased vehicular use of byways and bridleways.”

      And how many Barn Owls, great crested newts and sand lizards will be displaced in Puddletown in a climate emergency when clearly it was pointed out that SWEL’s habitat survey did not follow best practice?

      Oops!

      • Having dealt with NE on these issues in the past it is clear what will happen. Survey will be repeated to cover NEs concerns, NE will withdraw the objection, Planning Committee decide based on planning issues (traffic etc). Climate emergency / Parish Council irrelevant in planning system.

        A summary of NEs position on planning applications over the years:

        I have asked the following question on this BB many times and no one has responded:

        What does Declaring a Climate Emergency actually mean in legal and planning terms?

        Over to you Phil C or perhaps Tintin can let us know?

        I see XR are in Aberdeen today – I wonder how they got there? The railway line is not electrified, too far for EVs, so hydrocarbons will have been used.

        • You could always do your own research you know Paul, it appears you always just sit back and expect someone else to do your research for you? Never mind. PS. Dont blame me for the long reply, it could be much shorter or not required at all if you had done your own research.

          I doubt if TinTin can help you Paul, since it’s a fictitious cartoon originally by the Belgian comic book artist Hergé who drew the “Adventures of Tintin (French: Les Aventures de Tintin, d’après Hergé)” Perhaps you could ask Martin if he can provide an alternative fictional answer to your question? Maybe he will refer to his favourite quotes from “Around the World in Eighty Days (French: Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours) the fictional fantasy novel by French writer Jules Verne? Beware of that however, it will stretch to hundreds of irrelevant avoidances, and then retire unresolved.

          However, back in the real world,the dorset County Council climate emergency declaration does indeed have a legal basis, as does the government climate emergency declaration, though yet there is no specific legislation in place that says so. Presumably that is only a matter of time and impetus to do so.

          Appendix 1 – Dorset Councils Plan 2020-24 2.pdf (infographics yet to be applied)

          https://moderngov.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/documents/s15363/Appendix%201%20-%20Dorset%20Councils%20Plan%202020-24%202.pdf

          Here is an interesting report from Energy Voice regarding the legal basis and requirement of the UK declared climate emergency, not to mention all the local authority and satellite UK members declaring their own climate emergency measures:

          Is there a future in the UKCS?
          https://www.energyvoice.com/opinion/211159/is-there-a-future-in-the-ukcs/

          So, it has to be said that legal enforcement is implied, if not actual legislation in place. So what does that mean to fossil fuel and other industrial developments such as renewable energy?

          Dorset County Council has now to provide evidence and conditions to overcome or adhere to its own declared policy: “Puddletown Area Parish Council, in its online objection to the application, said:
          “Dorset Council has declared a climate emergency. How can it then authorise the development of an oil well?”

          The Dorset County Council Climate Emergency Declaration, is therefore a legally binding obligation. As the UK government declaration of a climate emergency is also legally binding, if as yet not legislated in detail. All objectors have to do in the planning application inquiry hearing, is to demand that Dorset County County adhere to their own declared climate emergency declaration. Failure to do so, would certainly then be taken directly to the government Planning Officer to decide. Dorset County Council may well prefer that, since it takes the poison cup out of their hands.

          That would be interesting, since it would be a case study for the validity of the climate emergency declaration, and proof, or otherwise, of the real world action that the government is, or is not, ready to apply to live up their own obligations in legal terms.

          How that is interpreted by notorious politicians of course, is a matter of speculation. Certainly this location is an historically sensitive site, and a potentially explosive location to prove just how much, or how little Dorset County Council, and the UK government is willing to “put their money where their mouth is”?

        • Paul

          Declaring a climate emergency has no meaning in UK law.

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-48126677

          What it does, for both the gov and councils ( or indeed any organisation or individual wishing to declare a climate emergency ) is indicate the willingness of the organisation to address the matter.

          If the gov then sets some legally binding targets to support their willingness, those are legal, but subject to revision at al, by those who set them.

          Declaring a national emergency has some legal basis, although the gov has to do it.

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-50389314

          What normally turns up, having declared a CE, is to produce a plan, derived from past plans, with ‘climate emergency tagged on to it’.

          Cornwall seem to have their act together

          https://www.climateemergency.uk/blog/cornwall-2/

          Lincoln is a bit further behind the curve.

          https://thelincolnite.co.uk/2019/07/lincoln-council-declares-climate-emergency/www

          However, non have specifically banned hydrocarbon use, nor production , and that includes Scotland.

          So, drilling an oil well in Dorset is not prevented by a CD declaration at present, although the question is a good one.

          The answer may be sought in any possible link between the production of that oil and it’s affect on the local council environmental p!an, and in particular any carbon zero target. I do not see one, but others may.

          • Is there a future in the UKCS?
            by Gillian King, vice president Europe, Russia, CIS and Africa at Tendeka
            04/11/2019, 6:35 am

            “In May the UK Parliament declared a climate emergency and in June the government set a “legal target” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.”

            (Note: legal target)

            The Scottish Government was more aggressive by targeting 2045.

            “There is understandably huge pressure and responsibility on industry leaders and innovators to avert an impending climate crisis.”

            • Phil C

              Thanks. I had already read the article by Gillian King and noted the comment you highlighted.

              Neither her article, nor her comment address the question asked by Paul Tresco. (What does Declaring a Climate Emergency actually mean in legal and planning terms?)

              In the article Gillian says

              “In May the UK Parliament declared a climate emergency and in June the government set a “legal target” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.”

              And in your recent reply you note the legal target.

              However, while the UK parliament declared a climate emergency in 2019, the legal targets it has set are rendered legal under the Climate Change Act 2008, an act which pre dates the declaration by some 11 years.

              Hence, the legal powers to set the targets are already in place, and could be set without recourse to the declaration.

              As the text accompanying the act notes…..

              The Climate Change Act 2008 is the basis for the UK’s approach to tackling and responding to climate change. It requires that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are reduced and that climate change risks are prepared for. The Act also establishes the framework to deliver on these requirements.

              The Act supports the UK’s commitment to urgent international action to tackle climate change.

              https://www.theccc.org.uk/tackling-climate-change/the-legal-landscape/the-climate-change-act/

              Hence, the Gillian King reference does not support the suggestion that the setting of GHG Emission Targets gives a legal framework, or meaning to the declaration.

              As noted in the BBC link I provided, the declaration expresses an intent to act. This intent can, inter alia, be expressed though existing legislation ( as in the GHG targets ), through the amending of existing legislation or the creation of new legislation.

              But at present, the declaration of a climate emergency has no meaning in law, and that will remain the case until ( or if ever ) legislation is passed to define it in law.

              An illustrative example could be constructed. Say the Government declared a knife crime emergency. They could carry out a raft of initiatives to address the issue, and pass additional laws (etc as noted above ) to support the declaration, but the declaration would have no legal basis unless law was passed to say it had.

              I suspect that this is also the case for planning ( the term has no legal meaning )

              You also say….

              The Scottish Government was more aggressive by targeting 2045.

              But as noted above, they have no need to declare a climate emergency in order to set the targets, or to make them a legal requirement.

              • Hewes62

                Whether any of the various Climate Emergency Declarations in the UK become enforceable in law. Is yet to be seen, however there are very clear scenarios related to the climate where that may become necessary.

                The proof of the pudding so to speak will emerge from one single legal case in which the Climate Emergency Declaration becomes the deciding issue of whether, or not, a case is decided one way or the other in favour of such a declaration being legally enforceable or not.

                That will set a precedent. I suspect that if such a decision comes down on the side of any Climate Emergency Declaration not being enforceable in law. There will be all hell to pay for the governments failed declaration and the courts from the public who will assume they have been duped and lied to. Also perhaps any council who have declared a climate change emergency will be similarly pressurised. I also suspect when or if that happens then the law will be demanded to be implemented rapidly in favour of a Climate Emergency Declaration being made legally enforceable and unambiguously so.

                You did also mention:

                “What it does, for both the gov and councils ( or indeed any organisation or individual wishing to declare a climate emergency ) is indicate the willingness of the organisation to address the matter.
                If the gov then sets some legally binding targets to support their willingness, those are legal, but subject to revision at al, by those who set them.
                Declaring a national emergency has some legal basis, although the gov has to do it.

                https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-50389314

                That would indicate that in a Climate Emergency, the UK government has effectively declared what amounts to a National Emergency.

                That can be interpreted as a National Emergency in a court of law. In that case the law will be obliged to implement it as law and make it enforceable. Just as they would in war or any other form of National Emergency.

                In war, all legal considerations are overruled in preference for the case for a National Emergency. That effectively supersedes the courts of law immediately. And all sorts of previous laws can be overruled or made moot and the National emergency takes precedent and priority in all its aspects.

                Whether that will happen, or when it will happen due to other circumstances of a National Emergency not as yet seen. Is of course yet to happen, if it will happen at all.

                However, in a case such as that in Australia and the forest, bush and countrywide fire storms. If that occurs in the UK, where we have a very crowded population and no room to evacuate people, a National Climate emergency is almost assured and will be implemented.

                In terms of Planning applications and decisions for fossil fuel exploration and extraction. Issues only need to reach a High Court for those circumstances to be legally decided one way or the other.

                Perhaps the government should not wait for that situation to become so urgent.

                • Phil C

                  I disagree that by Declaring a climate emergency that the gov has declared what amounts to a national emergency and a few other points in your reply ( though not all ).

                  I will construct the reasoned reply why soon.

                • Phil C

                  1. In your first section you make the point that

                  ”The proof of the pudding so to speak will emerge from one single legal case in which the Climate Emergency Declaration becomes the deciding issue of whether, or not, a case is decided one way or the other in favour of such a declaration being legally enforceable or not.”

                  However, as the term has no legal meaning, it cannot be legally enforceable.

                  There may be a case where a decision is made, and the declaration cited as being the deciding issue in that case. That however would not give the declaration legal status or that it would result in the declaration being legally enforceable. This because a declaration is not an act or regulation. Unless the government enshrines the declaration in law, then it will remain unenforceable.

                  Re legal meaning, I would refer to the following link – which says…

                  An “environment and climate emergency” motion has been passed by Westminster although the government is not legally bound to act on it.

                  The motion, which was tabled by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, was approved without a vote yesterday, making it the first parliament in the world to declare a climate emergency.

                  There is no formal definition of what a “climate emergency” constitutes. But shadow environment secretary for DEFRA, Sue Hayman, said Labour’s motion passed “a certain set of actions for the government to carry out”.

                  https://www.edie.net/news/9/Climate-emergency-what-is-it/

                  The set of actions referred to can be found below (but they are not legally binding).

                  2. In the second part of the first section you note.

                  ”That will set a precedent. I suspect that if such a decision comes down on the side of any Climate Emergency Declaration not being enforceable in law. There will be all hell to pay for the governments failed declaration and the courts from the public who will assume they have been duped and lied to.”declaration

                  There may be hell to pay by those who mistakenly think that the declaration is law, or that it has a set of regulations attached. But it does not. That people may be confused is understandable, as demonstrated by comments referred to in DoD where people are surprised that permission is given for an activity they do not agree with ‘even though we have declared a climate emergency’

                  I would point them to the large amount of information available in the web, not least the link below which attempts to explain the issue.
                  A key issue to note is that anyone can declare a climate emergency, for their business, family or themselves personally, but there is no law at present which says you must do it.

                  Or at a backstop, to take the issue up with the labour party who tabled the motion.

                  https://climateemergencydeclaration.org/tag/united-kingdom/

                  3. You then say

                  ”Also perhaps any council who have declared a climate change emergency will be similarly pressurised. I also suspect when or if that happens then the law will be demanded to be implemented rapidly in favour of a Climate Emergency Declaration being made legally enforceable and unambiguously so.”

                  I agree, that councils will be pressurised by those supporting or opposing decisions using using the declaration as a reason {against an oil well, or for the erection of solar farms in areas of outstanding natural beauty }. However, the law is already there to be implemented, be it existing law or any enacted by the gov to support their declaration. The declaration itself remains meaningless in law.

                  I think the best explanation of how the legal profession see it all is in the following link, which refers to legislation

                  https://www.endsreport.com/article/1583579/uk-parliament-declares-climate-emergency

                  4. In your second paragraph you say {of the link I supplied}

                  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-50389314

                  That would indicate that in a Climate Emergency, the UK government has effectively declared what amounts to a National Emergency.

                  I disagree. When the Gov declares a national emergency, that declaration gives it certain additional powers to act which are in the legislation noted in the link. The declaration has a legal basis and legal meaning.

                  A declaration of climate emergency does not provide any additional powers to the government. It is, as noted,in links above, a staement of intent. If the climate emergency requires the gov to have additional powers it has to gain them through parliament.

                  As the gov has not declared a national emergency,and it has not invoked those powers, i disagree that it has effectively declared a national emergency.

                  5. You then say

                  I”n war, all legal considerations are overruled in preference for the case for a National Emergency. That effectively supersedes the courts of law immediately. And all sorts of previous laws can be overruled or made moot and the National emergency takes precedent and priority in all its aspects.

                  Whether that will happen, or when it will happen due to other circumstances of a National Emergency not as yet seen. Is of course yet to happen, if it will happen at all.”

                  I do not disagree with you on the points you raise above. I am of the opinion that the declaration is virtue signalling from councils and parliament up to the point that they enact legally enforceable legislation to address environmental issues.

                  6. You then say

                  ”However, in a case such as that in Australia and the forest, bush and countrywide fire storms. If that occurs in the UK, where we have a very crowded population and no room to evacuate people, a National Climate emergency is almost assured and will be implemented.”

                  My comment on this is that Australia has always had bush fires, but not to the extent as the recent fires {that we know to }. There has been a lot of discussion on the various factors leading to the large areas affected, ranging from the high temperatures, though to the reluctance to carry out precautionary burning for fear of creating CO2 emissions. I expect balanced view to turn up eventually.

                  However, such fires are not known here (we do not have their bush, nor their climate ) though given or desire to plant more trees, forest fires could become more prevalent in dry summers. Most of our forests forests are not populated, so I do not think your concerns are valid. However, I do not live in the weald, which looks wooded, so it would be interesting to know what exisitng emergency provision is in place to evacuate the local population, and what would be appropriate actions for the council to take, should they determine fires are more likely in quantity and extent. Just the UK acting on greenhouse gas emissions is not a risk reduction measure if that scenario is foreseeable.

                  I do not see that a national emergency needs to be invoked for a local foreseeable event {though the council may wish to do something I guess )

                  Out here in lincolnshire, the woods are well spread out, and few people live in them.

                  7. you say

                  In terms of Planning applications and decisions for fossil fuel exploration and extraction. Issues only need to reach a High Court for those circumstances to be legally decided one way or the other.

                  Yes, I agree, in matters of interpreting existing law of course, not of expressions of intent.

                  And ….

                  Perhaps the government should not wait for that situation to become so urgent

                  Maybe so. However, should the gov declare a real emergency and invoke additional powers then the actions it takes are as likely to upset the green party as any other.

                  I still wait for a massive increase in local nuclear as an emergency measure to address a pressing situation.

                • hewes62

                  I disagree with your reasoning hewes62. In Declaring a Climate Emergency, UK.Gov has declared what amounts to a National Emergency, but as in all other environmental issues, it is dragging its feet, too many words, not enough, if any at all, action.

                  The Declaration of a Climate Emergency just hasnt reached a legal trial or definition yet. As in all things law and not yet law, nothing is legal, or illegal until it becomes legal, or illegal, in a Court of Law. Outlawing Slavery, Rights to Vote for women, Rights to Vote for the common man, Banning CFC’s, Fire Regulations, Ecocide, etc. etc. etc. All had to be or will be fought for, nothing stands stlll.

                  I also disagree with your reasoning of a few other points in your reply ( though not all ). Particularly I disagree with your opinion of the Australia situation, also Canada, California, Siberia, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and even here. That is totally unprecedented in the known history of these countries, and certainly not just bush fires and forest fires. More on that later too.

                  I will construct the reasoned reply why next week if i have time.

                • Phil C

                  Thanks. No rush. Especially as the issue of legal meaning for the declaration will, or will not, turn up in time. We just need to wait.

      • Hmm, selective memory now?

        Shame there is history of DoD reports that actually refer to the wildlife happily flitting around oil sites. Shame Wytch Farm has a very strong and long history in that respect, and is so local.

        Rapid import of sand lizards, I see. Clearly.

        So, there will be more comment and consultation, there will be discussion around such and maybe conditions will be set for the plan to proceed. Absolutely standard for any development. Hopefully, it will proceed around the reality and ignore such things as sand lizards-unless they are relevant to that site.

  5. Oh dear, here we go again….is it necessary to put everything down for you all the time in simple incontrovertible terms rather than you being unable to discern the truth for yourself?

    But as we have seen before, clearly stated fact will prevail yet again against uninformed selective memory……absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, Martin. never has been, never will be.

    And it was you brought up sand lizards old thing.

    Oops! Yuk! Messy! No wonder they are endangered?

    However this is interesting since it indicates that sands and sandstone is the predominant strata that is sought for at Puddletown:

    “The company said a single vertical conventional oil well would be drilled into the Cornbrash, Bridport Sands and Sherwood Sandstone formations.”

    That indicates sandstone is in the location, and that indicates sand lizards are almost certainly are present.

    And if the Puddletown site is truly as stated by Paul and that illusive single supporter of the development, (someone we know?) the site is supposed to be “very similar to” and the claim of that single supporter, was “no different from”. If those claims are true, then the same wildlife that exists in Wytch Farm are present at Puddletown. Otherwise those claims are wrong.

    “Objections and concerns
    Natural England said the application had not recognised the presence of barn owls. The proposal would result in loss of foraging area which “may compromise survival rates”, it said.

    The proposal could also lead to loss of habitat or compromise populations of great crested newt and bats, both protected species.

    Dormice were also known to be nearby and it was unclear if the application had considered the impact on them, Natural England said.

    It said the bird survey had not been carried out at the best time of year and the application was unclear whether hedgerows, likely to be ecological corridors, would have to be removed.”

    So, in the unlikely absence of sand lizards, yet to be established one way or the other, since absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, there are Barn Owls, Great Crested Newts, and Bats, all are protected species, and are very much threatened.

    Sorry to take the wind out of your sails yet again Martin my old “non engineer”, but you do tend to betray yourself with your own words.

  6. German sand lizards, my confused “engineer”, being displaced by Tesla.

    A farm diversification scheme!

    Now, let’s think about it. Here, we have a farm using red diesel that wishes to produce oil, for more red diesel etc.

    Perhaps they are fed up trying to run their tractors and other machinery on vegetable oil, as some “experts” seem to think they do, who would then like to provide further such “knowledge and experience” for us as to what might be found (almost certainly) on a farm? Mystic Meg does farming.

    With the other species present, looks as if this landowner is doing a darn good job, and would be the ideal steward to make sure that continues.

    Oh, the evidence is not absent, and is there for all who wish to see. And it seems there is a never ending supply from the engineering factory. Buyer beware.

  7. Phil C – Tintin can’t help me but you are a great follower of her, school strikes and all that?

    Greta “Tintin” Eleonora Ernman Thunberg

    I thought at least you would have picked that one up?

    Born: Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg, Jan 3, 2003, Stockholm, Sweden
    Occupation:Student, environmental activist
    Years active:2018–present

    • No Paul, I had no idea that “TinTin” was part of Greta Thunberg’s name? There is no reason why i should know. As i am not obsessed with Greta Thunberg as you and Martin clearly are. So i am not very surprised you know that. Why is that? Know your enemy? I dont think Greta Thunberg is your enemy, quite the opposite. I don’t think she is anyone’s enemy.

      Nor am i obsessed with German sand lizards and Elon Musk, Tesla, and obsessive last worditis. Those particular fixations are confined to those dark labyrinthine recesses of Martins internal meanderings. A place where i would rather not tread, let alone enquire. A burning bridge too far, that one.

      However getting back to Greta obsessions. Which is exhibited with such extreme regularity in the anti anti posts. I tend to take real people as they are, not the media images positive or negative. They are nearly always lies and fabrications, illusions and media hype, imagery and fantasy.

      Nope, i am not “a great follower of “her” (Greta Thunberg? Is that like “She”?), school strikes and all that?” You do like to attempt to put your own words in other peoples mouths dont you?…..Yuk!…..

      No, the School Strike for Climate marches i went on were organised by many of us, and the local schools and local people and families. It was more about the local school children and the speeches and organisers were also mainly slightly older children assisted by adults. It was their day. The parents and qualified teachers and carers, mostly just drove them there and back, and organised food and water, kept everyone safe and made sure we didn’t lose anyone in the very strong crowds. Many of the older children became responsible adults for the day and took responsibility for the younger children too. That was a real pleasure to see. I was proud of them.

      You should have gone on one of those yourself. The sheer spirit of the desire for real change was actually almost solid. You could feel the desire for change in the air, and it was all done in peace and harmony. Probably not a good idea for grumpy trumpy’s though. They would stick out like a sore bum.

      Same difference to the recidivist inertia that i see displayed here daily. Such things as government ideologies, corporate greed and avarice, and so on, all the usual vices.

      Change is coming, it will come whether we like it or not. So its much more intelligent to be prepared for when it does isnt it. Not too much to ask is it?

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