Councils’ joint fight against Rathlin Energy expansion and production plan

East Yorkshire villages are to work together to oppose plans for expansion and production at an oil and gas site.

Artist’s impression of Rathlin Energy’s expanded production site at West Newton-A. Source: Rathlin Energy

A meeting yesterday agreed on a joint campaign by local parish councils against proposal by Rathlin Energy for its West Newton-A site.

The company is seeking planning permission to triple the width of the site, drill an extra six wells and produce hydrocarbons for 20 years.

The local county councillor, Jacob Birch, said today:

“It is clear the overwhelming majority of residents and Parish Councillors don’t want to see this development take place and I am happy to support the fight to object to this development in the strongest possible way.

“A working group of elected members from various Parish Councils is to be formed to work on a joint action plan and substantive objection.”

Campaigners against the proposals have welcomed Cllr Birch’s opposition.

Rathlin response to calls for a community fund

Earlier this week, Cllr Birch, along with two other county councillors, asked Rathlin Energy to establish a community fund if the planning application were approved.

The company replied yesterday saying it was “already addressing” a community fund for what it called “the longer-term socio-economic and environmental benefit of the people and communities who live nearby”.

But Rathlin said any discussions on a fund would “only take place with full agreement and participation of planning and legal officers from East Riding of Yorkshire Council”.

Rathlin’s county manager, Tom Selkirk, said the company had invested about £12m in the past 10 years, “either through donations or contracts to provide services to support our development”.

The company has drilled a total of five wells at three sites in East Yorkshire: West Newton A and B and Crawberry Hill. It is considering expansion at West Newton-B and two new sites, to be called West Newton C and D. Crawberry Hill has been restored.

In May 2021, minutes of the West Newton Community Liaison Committee confirmed that Rathlin Energy had commissioned and installed a defibrillator in the village of West Newton. A bench was donated at Walkington, a resident has remembered.

Ruth Hayhurst will be reporting for DrillOrDrop from the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November

2 replies »

  1. How can the East Yorkshire County Council declare we are in a climate emergency and then even consider allowing Energy Company Rathlin to make a planning application to drill for oil and gas for the next 20 years at West Newton? It’s an absolute nonsense.
    Added to this the site borders the Wolds which have recently been declared an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty!! Next door to an oil field?
    Finally have you not heard the parameters of the climate emergency state “no more mining of fossil fuels.” They are to stay in the ground and sustainable forms of energy, (solar, wind, tidal), developed.

  2. Strange comment!

    How can any Council allow any new houses to be built?

    Life goes on, Ruth. The UK is using oil and gas and will continue to do so for at least the life of West Newton. Currently, large quantities of oil and gas are imported into the UK to fuel desire for such objects as plastic keyboards on computers (oops!), or diesel for the founders of XR. (She can’t afford an electric!!?? Never heard of leasing?) All that West Newton will do is transfer a small volume of that imported, thus reducing transport emissions bringing the gas and oil from over the horizon.

    If people in UK are not willing to allow such improvements to the supply chain, reducing emissions in the process, then they are part of the climate problem, not the solution. There will be much bigger issues for people to absorb and fund regarding climate change, but why should they when simple improvements in supply chains are objected to? They would be more likely to think that they should just continue to buy air freighted green beans and roses.

    Next door to an oil field? The site is relatively small, and once constructed, will be pretty inconspicuous. Less industrialization than a poultry or pig farm, and plenty of them in East Yorkshire, and some way from the Wolds! Plan a visit to Wytch Farm, the largest European on shore oil field. In an area of great natural beauty, no issues with that, and West Newton will be tiny in comparison.

    The people of Cornwall will probably have to suffer much more industrialization of their countryside to facilitate lithium extraction. Mind you, they have put their collective feet down about blasting great chunks out of the Lizard to enable the tidal project at Swansea! (A little fact that escapes those who glibly refer to tidal projects as being sustainable. Think about how they are constructed.)

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