Opponents of Isle of Wight drilling launch information campaign after criticising council consultation

200627 Arreton launch DDTW1a

Photo: Don’t Drill the Wight

A public consultation on plans to drill for oil on the Isle of Wight has been poorly communicated, with inconsistencies and discrepancies, campaigners have argued.

There are four weeks left for people to comment on a planning application by UK Oil & Gas plc to drill near Arreton.

But opponents of the scheme have accused the Isle of Wight Council, which is running the consultation, of conflicting messages and information because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The local campaign group, rebranded Don’t Drill The Wight, launched its own information campaign on Saturday (28 June 2020).

It said adverts in the local paper on the planning application suggested there would be a three-week consultation, when the duration was five weeks. The advert also said people could look at documents at the council planning office, but this was not the case.

The council’s website also suggested the consultation had not started, the group said:

“This has really confused the issue. It is just not getting out to the public so we have decided to try to do their work for them.

“It is essential that as many Islanders as possible voice their objections during this consultation period, which ends only four weeks away on the 24th July. If oil and gas are found in commercial quantities we will be looking at the creeping industrialisation of the surrounding countryside and associated activities for the next 20 years or more.

“We must show the Isle of Wight Council through sheer numbers of objections that thousands of Islanders feel very strongly about the countryside and do not want UKOG to Drill the Wight.”

200627 Arreton launch DDTW2

Photo: Don’t Drill the Wight

Two independent Isle of Wight councillors have called for the decision on the planning application by UK Oil & Gas to be postponed.

Cllr Karl Love told the OnTheWight website:

“I think this is a huge decision for our Island as a whole and not being able to have access to consultation materials and in the usual way of access means that many people may not be able to participate and have their views heard.

“This is a matter of democracy and inclusion for me, as we have seen democratic process on the Island diminish under this administration’s governance.

“The decision that is to be made will be used as a precedent for further applications where there might be drilling for oil or shale gas. It is therefore imperative that everybody be fully consulted given that there is little opportunity to have this issue debated in the chambers.”

Cllr John Medland said:

“I’m appalled that the public consultation is going ahead under current restrictions on public involvement.”

Concerns about drilling at Arreton have centred on traffic, noise, air quality, light pollution, visual intrusion, contamination and flood risks, subsidence and impact on wildlife and protected sites.

Steve Davis, from Don’t Drill the Wight, told BBC News, the application posed a risk of damage to the environment, wildlife and the island’s water supplies. He said:

“If any of our own water supplies were to become contaminated, however small that risk might be, it could put us in a very precarious situation.”

The Isle of Wight Labour Party has said if it ran the council it would make the island an exporter of renewable energy. Island Labour’s chair, Julian Critchley, told Island Echo:

“A Labour-led council would set up a local energy company, as Southampton did. Initially, this would focus on reducing bills for residents. But in the longer term, we would be looking to reinvest returns from that company into renewable energy generation. The Island should be exporting clean energy to the rest of the UK, and Islanders can all benefit from that.”

“The repeated attempts to drill for oil on the island are ridiculous. Not only do Islanders not want it, but the world can’t afford it. More to the point, with the renewable options we have which are currently untapped, it’s completely unnecessary.”


DrillOrDrop report on the planning application

DrillOrDrop Arreton webpage

Link to application webpage

Highway officials oppose drilling plans


9 replies »

  1. Hmm. The rebranded outfit still have problems with the reality.

    Creeping industrialization? With Europe’s largest on shore oil field not so far away, and not industrialized, what has changed to make industrialization of the countryside necessary now?

    First it was fracking, which was precluded by a moratorium, plus the fact that UKOG had declared they had no intention of fracking.

    Now, it is “industrialization” whilst local evidence shows this to be tosh.

    Bit of a pattern developing.

  2. Well, good morning Jon!

    Many times, Jon. Family and friends on IOW. Nice people, very sensible people. They have many friends themselves who trundle over to Fawley Refinery to WORK, and earn very good money. They can watch the huge numbers of ships that puff into and out of the refinery and enjoy the FACT that the water in the Solent is CLEANED by the refinery, so helping tourism on IOW. Nice to see that the attached chemicals plant now increasing production of artificial rubber to meet increased demand for medical purposes.

    I also know one of the Pilots who helps bring the ships in or out of the Solent. Quite interesting to find out where the ships bringing oil have come from, and who is therefore reaping the taxation benefits. Maybe spending some of it trying to make sure they continue to do so?

    Work and taxation. Sometimes it is worth spreading a few seeds on bare soil, but I think those two may wither and die!

  3. Why ruin the unique landscape and narrow roads of the Wight to find more oil and gas when, as you admit, there is more than enough to take us to a renewable and hydrogen based future on a short enough timescale to stop widespread flooding of the Wight, Portsmouth, Southhampton and the South Coast.
    Thousands of secure jobs and homes at risk from climate change in contrast to the tiny amount of employment provided by gas exploration and any subsequent production.
    Work, taxation and pollution from the uncontrolled emissions from those puffing ships which are responsible for premature deaths in ports like Dover, Portsmouth and Southampton.

  4. Sorry, Jon, most of that was debunked at the Wressle enquiry. Also, no need to ruin anything. No other on shore site around the south coast has done that. Plenty of alternative energy generation sites have.

    But, yes, let’s reduce those puffing ships and the risk of another Torrey Canyon. Pluto worked before. Now for Pluts? Good new use for ice cream outlets.

    I do find this one particularly hilarious, though. First the “organized” resistance was banking on “fracking” to excite. Now, they have rebranded and have posters of oil wells blowing out huge plumes of oil into the sky! Obviously have no knowledge of the subject and banking on others being the same.

  5. [Edited by moderator]
    The people are not going to let it happen, no matter how many crooked Enquiries there are? It is madness! It is ecocide. Ecocide will soon be recognised as a crime and individuals will be culpable. Fucking over the planet and your children’s and grandchildren’s futures for a few quid in your pockets! Regards employment opportunities- our new local Aldi creates more jobs than this will.
    Like someone else said earlier we’ve already got plenty of fuel to bridge the gap to clean renewables. Facing a climate catastrophe as we are- All fossil fuels must stay in the ground. The future is Green, or not at all!

  6. Well, Richard, perhaps the Greens can magic up a few more MPs! Until then, the future is not Green, but it may have a green tinge to it.

    The people can only stop things, in a democracy, by getting engagement. Not sure how your approach will do that.

    Your excitement overtakes anyone’s grey cells. In one sentence you say “we’ve already got plenty of fuel to bridge the gap”, in the next “all fossil fuels must stay in the ground”!! Now, that is a not even approaching logic.

    My children, and quite a few more, are very keen to book their holidays overseas. According to today’s news there is a very large number of youngsters trying to do exactly that. (I no longer have a passport. Been there, done that.) So, they make their own decisions and it looks as if many disagree with you using them falsely as an excuse. I have observed the UK Greens and their “success” for some years. Repeated failure, so let’s change the voting system to help out. Ahh, the UK voted against that. Let’s have a progressive alliance. But, what the heck does that mean? Oh yes. As we are such a niche movement let’s add into some others who are equally niche and we will be a force! No. Just get lost in multiple voices, and then have to show the red part of being Green to shout louder, and find that loses even more voters. Then, all that is left is the Super Glue.

  7. You know I would love to meet up with you sometime Martin. Preferably sometime in the future, as I might not have much of that left to me, and share a double G&T, Cuba Libre or pint or whatever might appeal beverage wise, and find out what exactly it is that makes you tick. That is, of course, if you are a real person with a real family with genuine passion for the industry. You really will need to lose your obsession with promoting Wytch Farm, (which given it drills its wells offshore, under water and magnificently hides the odd misfortune at the site from the surrounding area- oh and fracks too is rather a misnoma) because people have kind of sussed that now. I’m sure you must have the intelligence to understand that drilling under two villages with habitations and being sited in close proximity of the local primary school – in the middle of a main producing agricultural area – is not actually comparable to WF and not the most appropriate location for an oilpad managed by a relatively inexperienced oil operator. If so then maybe, just maybe, we could have a grownup conversation with a bowl of high fat crisps to go with it.
    I have to say that, as a granny, I feel quite concerned that you feel the necessity to constantly belittle those who feel differently.
    If you really have been there,and done that, then you should seriously consider whether the “there” and the “that” will still be around in the same way for your kids (virtual or not) and grandkids to do in the future. That would really be something you might think is worth making sacrifices for now. Unless of course it pays your salary and maybe then you might want to just ignore everything and carry on. Just saying!

    • Sylvia, if you are looking to compare oil fields and believe Wytch farm unsuitable, then try looking around Nottinghamshire.
      Oil was first discovered and extraction began there in 1930.

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