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