Frack Free Isle of Wight has welcomed news that the island’s council has halted all planning decisions during the covid-19 outbreak.
The group has opposed drilling plans on the island by UK Oil & Gas (UKOG), submitted earlier this week.
In a statement tonight, the group said:
“Frack Free Isle of Wight is delighted to reveal the receipt of an email from the Chair of Planning of The Isle of Wight Council this evening, announcing the halt of planning applications due to the current national crisis.”
DrillOrDrop reported two days ago that UKOG had submitted a planning application for exploratory wells near the village of Arreton.
Frack Free Isle of Wight had called for the application to be deferred during the outbreak. It was concerned that the public consultation on the application would be affected by restrictions on movement and the closure of public buildings.
The group said tonight:
“We wish to thank the Isle of Wight Council’s Planning Department for listening to our concerns and making this important decision. We are grateful that the council has acknowledged that these precautionary measures are essential at this time”
The email from the chair of planning, Chris Quirk, said:
“I can confirm that no new planning applications will be determined for the immediate future.
“We will however, still be receiving applications electronically and we will make them available online in the usual way.
“However, we will not be starting the formal public consultation period until Government guidance on non-essential movement changes and we can safely put up site notices and undertake site visits.
“We will then also advertise planning applications as usual in the local press.
“This means that the public will be able to see any new applications online, but we will not be determining them.”
Isle of Wight Council is expected to make a formal statement in the morning.