Council pays £403,000 costs over Wressle planning dispute

181024 Wressle UWOC

Wressle wellsite, 24 October 2018. Used with the owner’s consent

North Lincolnshire Council has paid costs of £403,000 after losing an appeal on plans for oil production at Wressle, the site operator has confirmed.

The Wressle development, near Scunthorpe, was granted consent in January 2020 when a planning inspector overturned the council’s refusal and allowed Egdon’s application for costs.

In a statement to investors this morning, Egdon said:

“we can advise that the gross sum of c. £403,000 has now been received from North Lincolnshire Council as settlement in full of these costs.”

The company’s managing director, Mark Abbott, said:

“We are … pleased to have received the costs in full from North Lincolnshire Council which strengthens our finances.”

191105 WI 9 public gallery DoD

Public gallery at Wressle inquiry, 5 November 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Four months before the inquiry, North Lincolnshire Council decided to withdraw its case against Egdon. It called no witnesses and opposition to the scheme was left to local people. DrillOrDrop invited the council to comment on the cost awards. This article will be updated with any response.

Egdon Resources has a 30% stake in the Wressle project. The statement said Egdon would share the costs with the other partners: Europa Oil & Gas Limited (30%), Union Jack Oil plc (27.5%) and Humber Oil & Gas Limited (12.5%).


Egdon’s statement also said the company had installed four groundwater monitoring boreholes on the Wressle site.

Egdon said the boreholes would be monitored and the results analysed during the life of the site. The initial three months of sampling would determine the baseline groundwater quality, the company said.

Previous statements from the company have predicted that the first oil from Wressle would be produced in the second half of 2020, increasing Egdon’s total oil production by 150 barrels a day. The company has said Wressle would remain “economically robust” with an estimated break-even oil price of $17.62 per barrel.

Managing director, Mark Abbott, said today:

“We continue to make good progress with the Wressle development despite the current challenging operating environment.

“The successful installation of the groundwater monitoring boreholes represents an important step in the progress to first oil.

The planning permission was subject to 20 conditions, some of which must be discharged before work can start on reconfiguring the site, installing new equipment and operations underground.

Earlier this week, DrillOrDrop asked North Lincolnshire Council which planning conditions had already been discharged at the Wressle site and which remained to be approved. We will update this post with the council’s response.

DrillOrDrop’s key facts and timeline on the Wressle development




10 replies »

  1. The RNS reconfirmed production in H2 2020,but, as with all plans this year it will be dependent upon impacts of Covid-19.

    The cost of UDI versus local democratic decisions based upon following correct process can be quite high, can’t it? Wonder if those exciting the former during the process will be stumping up the costs? Or, whether the locals will pay the consequences in services being reduced?

    Should be some testing doorstep conversations during next local elections.

    Will be interesting to see if the following quote from the Inspector is now taken into more account elsewhere:

    “There is no suggestion that this proposal would increase the use of hydrocarbons, and the evidence suggests the effect would be simply to transfer production to a more local source.”

  2. Ouch That will Smart A Bit.. Better Start Crowd Funding Shame the council Tax payers will get Lumbered with the Bill.

  3. Shame the costs fall on the local ratepayers rather than the culprits to this farce namely the Unite members of the planning committee and the grandstanding conservative member who played to the gallery throughout the proceedings.

    • The Councillors on the Planning Committee may learn from this? Egdon were clearly going to win the appeal and costs. The Councillors should have voted in accordance with the Officer’s recommendation. Perhaps the Councillors shouldn’t be blamed – perhaps the fault and therefore the costs incurred lies with the zealots who lobbied them? What a waste of money. And what has “the current situation” got to do with this?

      “The council’s planning committee refused the scheme three times, most recently in November 2018, despite recommendations by officers to approve.”

    • Not at all, Kathryn.

      I have warned SEVERAL times on DoD that there would come a time when a planning application would be pushed by the antis to a stage where large costs were awarded against them and/or those they bully into silly decisions . This situation had the writing on the wall for a long time but some could either not see it, or had no concern regarding tax payers money. The pattern of turning down an application and then manufacturing the reason AFTERWARDS was a road to this situation, not short of clear signals.
      The not seeing it is actually excluded by the Council refusing to object at the last hearing after all possible conditions had been agreed to, so leaves irresponsible action by a few who had no concern for tax payers money.

      Precedent now set. Actions do have consequences. Maybe protectors of the local community will have to be rebadged as impoverishers of the local community?

      And as Paul states this was before Covid-19. But if you want to bring that in be careful. Mr. Musk, the poster boy of the antis, not showing much responsibility by opening up his California plant against clear instructions not to do so reference Covid-19, after trashing a forest in Germany to start building a new factory PRIOR to planning permission! Collateral damage and hypocrisy do seem to be totally acceptable to some if they see their cause as superior.

    • The councilors were a bunch of misfits in a capitalist society and serving only their personal interests at the expense of the tax payer. [Edited by moderator]

  4. The ultra left wing are a odd group driven largely by envy. They enable themselves to adopt any disguise but environment is a favourite target where their objections may prevent their capitalist enemy gain ground. In doing so they are doing their very opposite to their scriptures they are, in fact, depriving local people with jobs and a salary and income, in this case, the council of which they are members.
    have committed their suffering council tax payers paying £400,000 which this envy driven group has run for the very people they claim to be defending ! Moreover, stopping Wressle will not reduce carbon emissions. The replacement will likely be imported in tankers which burn more than 100 tons of oil per day, every day, from the Gulf to the UK and then back to the Gulf again.So the net result of their efforts would have been more carbon emissions and less jobs for their citizens

    • Not protectors of the community but impoverishers of the community, Vernon.

      Wonder what the anti reaction would have been if one of the oil companies had received a £400k fine, even when it would have come out of their own pockets?

      As the inspector stated:

      “There is no suggestion that this proposal would increase the use of hydrocarbons, and the evidence demonstrates that the effect would be simply to transfer production to a more local source”.

      Other councils may of course ignore that in the future, but at their peril, as they can not erase that consideration.

      So, oil back to $36/barrel, and even before then:

      “Oil at two month high with Chinese demand near pre-virus levels”

      That didn’t take long, did it?!

      (Seems to have lulled Jack to sleep in his back seat. Bit of a shock for him when he wakes up.)

  5. …or you could argue that £400,000 is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on consultants, lawyers, witnesses in a case where the council acknowledged it wouldn’t formally defend its arguments and – in as many words – had agreed that, actually, in retrospect the application was consistent with local policies – albeit after formally refusing. The inquiry was a done deal, so how Egdon managed to rack up so much in costs in a 3 day inquiry (reduced from six days) is questionable. Does that mean costs would have been over 800k if the council had had put up a fight (ie gone the full six days?). Blood sucking barristers and overpriced planning consultants equally to blame, not just the council. Seems you’re damned if you do (or damned if you don’t).

    (That said, and as already discussed, it seems obvious after the developers remedied the impermeable membrane issue – which had previously led to the last application’s dismissal – that this latest iteration would go through…the council should have really taken officer advice – at least this time! One wonders what the internal legal advice was, also)

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