Conservative MP opposes UKOG oil drilling plans on Isle of Wight

200323 Arreton Frack Free Isle of Wight

Site of UKOG’s proposed Arreton oil site, 23 March 2020. Photo: Frack Free Isle of Wight

Bob Seely, the Conservative MP for Isle of Wight, has told campaigners he is against proposals to drill for oil at Arreton.

Bob Seely Bob Seely

Bob Seely MP. Photo: Office of Bob Seely

A planning application by UK Oil & Gas plc (UKOG) was published online last month. It seeks to drill vertical and sidetrack wells on farmland off the road between Newport and Sandown.

Local campaigners wrote to Mr Seely opposing the project.

In a short reply, he said:

“Having campaigned for the Island to be allocated national park status in recognition of both its beauty and ecological significance, I am opposed to oil drilling and exploration anywhere on the Island.”

The proposed site is outside, but close to the edge of, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

UKOG said its application complied with national energy policy. It said oil and gas would continue to be a “crucial and major component” of the UK’s energy mix while government and the planning system managed the transition to low carbon energy.

It also said “great weight” should be attributed to the economic benefits of mineral extraction and the economic growth of a thriving UK oil and gas sector.

The company said this part of the island had “acceptably accommodated hydrocarbon and testing in the past”. Boreholes were drilled near Arreton in 1952 and 1974.

Bob Seely’s letter to Frack Free Isle of Wight

But in his letter, published this week by Frack Free Isle of Wight, Mr Seely said:

“I will continue to monitor this issue closely and oppose any oil drilling or exploration on our Island.”

A spokesperson for Frack Free Isle of Wight said:

“We are delighted that Mr Seely has responded so positively to a member of our community regarding UKOG’s application.

“We are aware how important our Biosphere award is to our MP and his desire to see our island acquire National Park Status.

“We look forward to his continued support in the coming months when this planning application is finally submitted for decision.”

The application documents are available on the Isle of Wight Council’s planning website.

A public consultation, which would normally follow publication of an application, has been postponed because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Isle of Wight Council has said it would not go ahead with a consultation, or a decision by the planning committee, until people could look at the application at its planning office.

Mr Seely, elected in June 2017, voted against financial incentives for low carbon emission electricity generation and against measures to prevent climate change (see TheyWorkForYou).

22 replies »

  1. That puts Bob Seely at odds with his own party policy.

    It would also mean that the sale of the Isle of White licence by the OGA on behalf of the government to UKOG was missold!

    If this licence is not granted planning permission I think that UKOG should claim at least the value of the estimated reserves on the whole of the Isle of White from the council or the government.

    • The only thing miss sold are the billions of worthless shares , whatever happened to your 10p ? Oh yes , I remember, Broadford Bridge, flagship of the Weald , how did that go ? Say goodbye!

    • The MP mentions an AOONB, just a reminder that plans have just been approved for a 1.4 square mile solar farm on the North Kent marshes, which will disfigure the local landscape. Also that new supply of useful daytimel green electricity will have to me matched by a reliable backup supply to cover nighttime demand. Widespread use of battery storage is as yet uneconomical.

      I just wish there was a level playing field in considering energy sources which consider the three main considerations, Environmental Sensitivity, 24/12 Reliability, and Affordability especially avoiding energy poverty.

    • Just listening to the Prime Miinister, “in the future there will be many, many job losses” – clearly it’s going to be grim. I suspect we are.going to need to take advantage of every economic advantage we can use. Seems to me fracking for homegrown gas and oil must not be missed.

      • ‘Seems to me fracking for homegrown gas and oil must not be missed’

        UK shale gas has already been tried. Plans passed unopposed in 2010. Since then the industry has been pummelled by well organised communities, suffered technical failings, been dropped by major investors and lost credibility with the public and Government. Added to the fact that the industry doesn’t present figures showing viability it would be logical to presume the industry is an all round failure.

        Still the ‘it won’t be long now’ and ‘this time next year’ promises does seem to keep a few of the most gullible investors parting with their hard earned.

        • Maybe not hard earned and maybe not gullible, jP! (Speculation)
          But, as you want the industry to present figures to show viability, there is only one way for that to happen, isn’t there. (Reality)

          Not sure that is what you were suggesting, but your “logical” is rarely that logical.

  2. That puts Bob Seely at odds with his own party policy.

    It would also mean that the sale of the Isle of White licence by the OGA on behalf of the government to UKOG was missold!

    If this licence is not granted planning permission I think that UKOG should claim at least the value of the estimated reserves on the whole of the Isle of White from the council or the government.

    • JEALOUS ? of what exactly , my cash is safe and sound , you only have to see the LSE board to know where the problems are , #deathspiral

  3. Did that comment really require a double posting? Seems UKOG are not welcome on the beautiful island , even Tories are against it.

  4. I don’t live in a camp , typical of a UKOG supporter , don’t even know how to spell Isle of Wight despite it being in the article let alone anything else. Maybe some knowledge required before you make assumptions?

  5. Classic Tory NIMBY! Not interested in climate change threats to the island or anywhere else. Maybe he has had a look at UKOG finances

  6. UKOG’s passed projects,Broadford Bridge as one example, have failed miserably, losing millions of pounds for investors and causing untold environmental damage. Who in their right mind would allow this ridiculous ponzi scheme to continue from a financial point of view and who with any kind of conscience can support such devastation in such a beautiful part of th UK or anywhere for that matter!

  7. You should take that up with Ruth, Katherine.

    I recall a visit she reported to Broadford Bridge when there was some poetry around butterflies and buzzards! Other poetry around wild life could apply to Stockbridge and Wytch Farm, even Kimmeridge (noticed the male Black Bream are thriving in the Bay and recently observed for the first time managing their hatcheries.)

    Is “untold” environmental damage just the same as imaginary?

    If you want to find untold environmental damage take a look at what an electric vehicle factory can achieve in Germany. (They start those PRIOR to planning permission.) Your conscience seems to be not only wrongly directed but also very selective. Maybe you prefer the continued risk of another Torrey Canyon upon the environment?

    Why so concerned about the finances? If there is little oil, then they will re-instate, pack up and go away. If significant oil they will not have a financial problem! Same argument tried at HH yesterday. It still makes no sense.

  8. We don’t need to worry about another Torrey Canyon there have been many disasters offshore and onshore around the world since then – Deepwater Horizon, North Sea platforms (BP and Shell 2011 & 2016) Exxon Valdez, numerous blowouts have occurred during unconventional operations, for example Devon Energy in Texas and then of course there is the ongoing issue of methane emissions, other GHG emissions, air pollution etc. And they’ve even had a few oil leaks from good old Wytch Farm as well.
    I think that Mr Seely is absolutely right to oppose the extraction of fossil fuels on the Isle of Wight, both to preserve the environment of the beautiful Isle and to conform with the government’s statutory obligation to reach net zero by 2050.




  9. Err. I think if it is “about actual oil and gas” you focus upon areas where it is likely to be, jP! (I think your latest contribution must rank alongside the “plenty of cheap oil and gas sloshing around the world” a few days before the Beast from the East!) Maybe you also want wind turbines erected where there is no wind?

    I do also like the way the antis desperately try and prevent those poor “mugs” buying UKOG shares. Certainly not working is it? And, Jono, whether you or your buddies post the same on LSE doesn’t have any impact either. Keeps you excited, and creates a spot the swampy game to go alongside the spot the ramper or deramper but that is about all.

    Yes, KatT, all those distant oil and gas issues. Makes a lot of sense to focus locally, especially on shore, then doesn’t it! The environment is GLOBAL and if UK can do a better job locally than others do far away, what’s not to like? Or, are you wanting huge ship loads of chlorinated chicken?

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