Three East Yorkshire councillors have asked an oil company to establish a community fund if its expansion plans are successful.
Rathlin Energy is seeking planning permission to treble the width of its West Newton A site to drill six new wells and produce hydrocarbons for 20 years.
In a letter today, the local Conservative county councillors asked the company to enter into a legal agreement if its application is approved.
Cllrs Jacob Birch, John Holtby and Brian Skow, who represent Mid-Holderness ward, said:
“Rathlin Energy UK and partners are set to benefit significantly from the extraction of oil/gas at the West Newton sites, if planning is granted over what will be a 20-to-25 year period.
“We firmly believe that given the huge impact the application would have on the local community and environment, Rathlin have a duty to put back into the community financially, by working with the community.”
The councillors proposed a section 106 agreement, which is signed by the developer and the council after permission is granted. Similar agreements have established funds linked to local wind farms.
The councillors said:
“Whilst a community fund will not offset the impact of the development, it goes a long way to helping the local community benefit from what is an impactful and often controversial development”.
They said the fund should be administered independently and would “benefit the local area in whatever way it can”.
They welcomed Rathlin’s funding for a defibrillator:
“It is this kind of work we wish to see continue if Rathlins operations continue in and around West Newton”.
Local opponents of Rathlin’s application have criticised the councillors’ suggestion. The campaign group, West Newton and Sproatley Gateway to the Gas Fields asked:
“Why aren’t they objecting to it themselves.
“None of these three councillors have come out and said they will oppose on behalf of their residents.
“They should be asking people to come and share their views, not give Rathlin a chance to buy the community.”
DrillOrDrop invited Rathlin Energy to comment on the councillors’ proposal. This post will be updated with any response.