Call for suspension of permit changes at East Yorkshire wellsite

New rules at an East Yorkshire oil and gas site should be suspended because of alleged inconsistencies by the environmental regulator, a resident has argued.

West Newton B wellsite in East Yorkshire, 6 November 2020. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

Earlier this month (May 2021), the Environment Agency (EA) approved changes to the permit for the West Newton B site, giving the go-ahead for extended well testing.

But a local resident has called for the approval to be suspended to allow a public review of the decision.

Harry Clark, who lives near the Rathlin Energy-operated site in New Ellerby, said a similar variation application in 2019 for a nearby oil site had been handled differently.

Then, the EA allowed only the use of nitrogen to lift fluids out of the well at West Newton A, he said. But at West Newton B, the EA approved the additional use of carbon dioxide.

Mr Clark also said the EA’s communication for the West Newton-B changes was “totally opposite” to an example set at West Newton A.

In January 2019, he said, the EA had circulated a Keeping you informed leaflet, which explained the changes sought for the permit at West Newton A. The EA also invited residents to a local information event. Another leaflet was distributed when the permit variation was granted.

For West Newton B, Mr Clark said the EA did not publish the application. There were also no documents on the EA’s webpage for the West Newton-B site, he said.

Mr Clark said Rathlin Energy has not informed residents or the site’s community liaison group about the West Newton B variation application.

He said:

“I request that the Environment Agency suspends the permit variation granted for the West Newton B wellsite, until such time as a public review can take place and be considered as part of the application.”

The West Newton B well test was said to be “imminent“, one of the site’s partners said yesterday.

DrillOrDrop invited the Environment Agency and Rathlin Energy to respond to Mr Clark’s concerns. On 20 May 2021, the EA defended the way it handled the West Newton B application and said it would not be suspending the variation to the permit. You can read the EA’s response here

On 21 May 2021, Rathlin Energy told us that the permit variation was discussed at, and noted in the published notes of, the community liaison meeting on 29 October 2019.

5 replies »

  1. ”a resident has argued”

    And the other resident has argued other way…. and another resident yet other way….

    Respecting letter of law is an essence of England. If we start to use single opinions as rule of law you will have anarchy in this country.

    Ruth, you are trying too hard…

  2. I don’t agree that the permit variations for the Extended Well Tests on both sites were carried out in a dissimilar manner.

    Rathlin applied for the latest variation to the permit for the completion of the West Newton A-2 Extended Well Tests in February 2020. No local information meetings or consultations were held for this application and the changes were granted and published by the EA in April 2020.

    The permit variation application to allow the Extended Well Tests on West Newton B-1z followed a similar pattern after being submitted in May 2020. No local information meetings or consultations were held for this application and the changes were granted and published by the EA in May 2021.

  3. Except that Harry Clark is not just a resident’ – he is a long standing opponent and campaigner against any development in the area. He is fully entitled to such a view but a bit of honesty about his role in opposition to all and every site development would provide the context too often lacking in these reports.

    • AndyB, he is also the New Ellerby resident’s representative on Rathlin Energy’s West Newton community liaison committee.

      It’s a shame that he missed the permit variation application for West Newton A in 2020 which replaced the inert gas lift with a mechanical lift, and that very few public consultation events of any description have taken place across the UK due to the pandemic.

  4. Harry Clarke, a concerned resident. Doesnt she mean an activist with a long long record of [edited by moderator] getting his way!!

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