Plans by Rathlin Energy for long-term oil production at a site in East Yorkshire do not need a detailed environmental study, a government minister has ruled.
The local government secretary, Robert Jenrick, announced today that the company’s proposals for 25-years of oil extraction and six new wells at the West Newton-A well site were “not likely to have significant effects on the environment”.
In a screening direction, he ruled that the company did not need to submit an environmental impact assessment (EIA) as part of a future planning application. The ruling supports the earlier decision of East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
The minister’s screening direction had been requested by Jacob Birch, a Conservative councillor on East Riding of Yorkshire Council, and nearly 30 other local representatives.
They had been particularly concerned about the effect of heavy traffic generated by the proposal on local villages and rural roads.
This evening, Cllr Birch said:
“This decision is extremely disappointing for residents and myself who hoped the Secretary of State would see the impacts this will have and direct this to be an EIA development.”
The minister said he noted that the proposal was likely to generate between 20 and 25 additional daily trips to the site by heavy goods vehicles. But he said:
“The Secretary of State considers that this issue can be assessed as part and parcel of the planning application process and if needs be mitigation measures introduced following the assessment, without the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment.
“In terms of the magnitude, special extent, nature, transboundary, intensity, complexity, cumulative impact, and taking account of all information available, the Secretary of State concludes that the impact is unlikely to be significant”.
The minister also noted conclusions by Natural England that the proposal could have “potentially significant adverse impacts” on the nearby Lambwath Meadows site of special scientific interest. But he said an air quality assessment would be part of the normal planning process.
- Rathlin Energy said last week it had scaled back the planned number of daily lorry movements to the site to 10 but it would still include the 20-25 number in its planning application.