Second consultation on UKOG’s Isle of Wight drilling plans

A second consultation began today on plans by UK Oil & Gas to drill for oil at Arreton on the Isle of Wight.

UKOG’s proposed Arreton well on the Isle of Wight. Source: UKOG display panel

The company has revised the proposed site entrance and junction with the road between Newport and Sandown.

Previous proposals had been criticised by highways officials, who recommended the scheme should be refused planning permission.

Late last month (December 2020), Island Roads, which manages Isle of Wight highways, said the revised scheme was acceptable, providing UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) met nine conditions.

People are invited to send comments on the revised application over the next five weeks until Friday 12 February 2021.

Other new responses

In the past few weeks, there have also been responses from

  • The Environment Agency: No further comments to make – a previous submission made no objection
  • Historic England: No comment but recommendation that Isle of Wight Council consult its specialist conservation and archaeological advisors
  • Ecology officer, Isle of Wight Council: Satisfied that ecological impacts can be satisfactorily addressed


A previous public consultation attracted more than 2,225 objections, according to analysis by the campaign group, Don’t Drill the Wight.

The group’s figures contradict those on the application webpage, managed by the Isle of Wight Council. This indicates a total of 923 public comments, of which 856 were objections.

However, DrillOrDrop understands that the council’s webpage total includes only comments submitted through the online planning portal. It does not include comments sent by email or post. Don’t Drill the Wight said the webpage also mixed up some comments between objections and supports.

The latest Don’t Drill the Wight analysis recorded 2,231 objections and 69 comments in support up to 22 December 2020.

A 38 Degrees petition opposing the application had 3,155 signatures at the time of writing.

Link to online details of planning application and consultation 20/00513/FUL

8 replies »

  1. As was stated quite recently regarding such matters, by Chris Bartlett:

    “On such consultations the substance is considered, not the numbers.”

    So, concentrate upon the numbers and argue how many, or how few, but it will still be the substance that is considered.

    (There are many areas that could be raised within objections for this or other applications, and usually are, which are simply not valid within the process.)

  2. I am absolutely affronted that in the light of obvious objection this second application has even been considered. There is nothing that will redress the damage that will be done to this island by this. In this day and age we should be looking at alternative means of energy that have a positive impact on our environment, not trying to squeeze the last dregs of an out of date fuel for ridiculously little return. We need to retain our clean environment, our UNESCO status. We could easily do this by utilising the land highlighted by this project for reforestation. Plant the trees,in return they would absorb carbon, release oxygen, create habitat and indirectly create employment. To plant the trees needed would require full time staff for several, if not many years. It will not leave deep scars in our landscape, it will not cause underlying weakening and damage to the island structure.

    The only incentive to drill the island is financial gain for an elite few. It will not benefit Islanders in the long term, it will contaminate an already at risk water supply. DO NOT DRILL THE ISLE OF WIGHT!!

  3. Well, Julie, as the IOW currently imports it’s energy requirement-including that for the Power Station at Cowes-why do you believe you can simply transfer your usage to others to supply? If the IOW sits upon energy reserves it currently uses, and will do for decades, why should it not contribute? You talk about an elite few, yet it is all the people on the IOW who currently use imported energy, whilst it is the few who imply that existing energy supply on IOW does not come from the very sources you try and prevent! That is just hypocritical and pretty selfish..

    The small piece of land that would be taken up by this development is insignificant in respect of reforestation.

    Please do enlighten us as to where UK on shore oil exploration/development has left deep scars to our landscape. There is one site at Stockbridge, close to the R.Test and that river has not been contaminated by it’s existence. I do know the R.Itchen was contaminated from a salad washing facility. So, no to eating salads on the IOW?

    You seem to be affronted by fears that have no basis in fact. That is all the rage these days, however, a Planning Application does need to look at the facts ie. the substance.

  4. Or, put another way:

    “No man is an island
    Entire of itself
    Every man is a piece of the continent
    A part of the main”

    John Donne: 1572-1631

  5. The IW Council has declared a climate emergency. Most decisions it takes will be unconnected to that – the declaration will remain a piece of paper, a gimmick. But some decisions will allow councillors to show they understand what the emergency means, and this is one. Nobody should be going looking for more fossil fuel at this point. Even if we reduce this decision to the narrowest of planning criteria, there are reasons to refuse it, not least its impact on the nearby Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. But if the committee acts on the far more important issue of climate emergency, which is a valid consideration in a planning decision, this application ought to be a non-starter and rejected.

  6. The councillors can, and do, what they like, Jonathan.

    Then, the planning process has to be fairly applied, maybe at appeal, if that is required.

    This was done regarding Wressle, and it was made perfectly clear, as follows:

    “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 level.”

    Whilst large tankers puff past IOW with cargoes of oil brought all the way from Nigeria, for all to observe on the IOW, on their way to Fawley Refinery, the planning decision will not stand based upon something which has already been rubbished. The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty may get some traction, except there are already UK on shore oil wells near such areas, not far from IOW, and they have little negative impact upon them. I remember, apart from the more local ones, there was a nodding donkey at Kimmeridge Bay, which was no more of an impact than the cars in the carpark next to it, owned by the tourists visiting the area of outstanding natural beauty-which is probably the same on IOW. I also recall there was some nonsense about “emissions” from that, yet, talking with those who go diving in that bay, they report gas rising from the seabed as a common event, so a bit of care needs to be placed between hope and reality.

    Back to Chris Bartlett.

  7. I’d like to draw a bit of balance to Martins point about transferring production to a local level.
    I accept the point that the amount of oil consumed globally or locally will not alter based on this production facility being built.
    I do think it’s important to understand embodied energy in any oil that is burnt however.
    Simply because oil comes from afar, doesn’t necessarily make it more polluting.
    This is highly influenced by the quality or weight of the oil and the energy required to extract and refine it.
    Oil from under the wight is going to be comparatively high carbon compared to some imported oil.
    Looking at EU analysis from a few years ago, it appears that transport of oil in the quantities seen ‘puffing’ up the channel actually contributes a very small percentage of its overall emissions.

    It is when considering reasons such as those above, that I think points like Jonathans currently don’t hold enough weight in planning applications in the UK compared to on-site and local impacts unfortunately.

  8. From reading these comments ,it appears that the dinosaurs are stalking the Wight again.
    For the temporary footprint the size of a small farm house & it’s industrial barns, the project may fail.
    Then the site reverts to grass
    But If successful,, then millions of £££££ in royalties kick in for , 20/30 yrs, so that the deprived young Wight generation can benefit from.
    Then the site reverts to grass.
    So lets so grab the possibility of a unique bonanza., especially to be welcomed during these perilous employment times, and stop bleatin’ ’bout the temporary loss of some sheep pasture behind a large mature hedge. .

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