Plans by Rathlin Energy for two new well sites in East Yorkshire will not need a detailed environmental assessment, council planners have decided.
The company had told East Riding of Yorkshire Council that the proposals for sites at West Newton, north of Hull, were “not likely to generate significant effects on the environment”.
It argued that future planning applications for the sites, to be called West Newton C and D, would not need to include environmental impact assessments (EIAs).
In decisions dated yesterday (2 September 2020), the council agreed.
Documents published by the council also revealed new details of the proposed operations and site locations (see West Newton C above left and West Newton D (above right).
“No significant impacts”
The council said:
Given its understanding of the site environment and the development proposal at the time of writing, the LPA [Local Planning Authority] considers that the development proposal would not comprise EIA development.
“As such, the LPA cannot ask you to undertake an EIA of the development proposal or submit an Environmental Statement (ES) with the application for planning permission.”
If approved, the new developments would bring to four the number of oil and gas sites operated by Rathlin Energy in a small area around West Newton.
But in its decision, the council dismissed the likely cumulative impacts of the new sites and the existing pads at West Newton A and B.
On the proposals for both West Newton C and D, the council said the surrounding open countryside was not defined as a “sensitive area”.
In each decision report, the council said:
“It is, however, anticipated – due to its nature – the proposed development could be undertaken without significant impacts on the environment”
New details revealed
Documents submitted by Rathlin Energy identify for the first time the exact location of the proposed sites, to be called West Newton C and West Newton D.
Rathlin Energy announced last month that the proposed West Newton C site was on land south east of Smithy Briggs Farm, off Crook Lane, near Burton Constable. West Newton D, if approved, would be at Low Fosham Farm, Low Fosham Road, Aldbrough.
West Newton C would be reached by a private access track constructed this year to the West Newton B wellsite.
But the company’s initial statement did not include maps of the proposed sites. Maps can now be seen online as part of the screening request report linked from the council’s website (West Newton C and West Newton D).
The screening reports also reveal:
- Rathlin is seeking permission for two wells at each site
- Drilling rigs up to 50m high would be used on the wells
- Drilling the main wellbore of each well is estimated at 12 weeks
- Site construction and mobilisation of drilling and testing equipment is likely to generate up to 10 two-way movements of heavy goods vehicles
- Testing is estimated to take up to 30 weeks
- Acidisation – the pumping of dilute acid into the wellbore – would be used at both sites
- The proposed sites would target the Kirkham Abbey and Cadeby formations