Villagers stage “dirty duck race” as 1,200+ oppose Biscathorpe oil drilling

People from Donington on Bain in Lincolnshire adapted a local tradition of a duck race on a protected chalk stream to highlight concerns about nearby oil production plans.

Dirty duck race at Donington on Bain in Lincolnshire, 5 September 2021, in protest at Egdon Resources oil production plans at Biscathorpe. Photo: Donington on Bain

Egdon Resources is seeking planning permission for exploration and long-term oil production at its Biscathorpe well site in the Lincolnshire Wolds. DrillOrDrop report

A decision is expected later this year by Lincolnshire County Council’s (LCC) planning committee.

At the weekend, twenty villagers brought rubber ducks to race on the River Bain near the Biscathorpe wellsite. But unusually, this year, half the ducks were made to look as if they were covered in oil.

The event was part of a campaign by local people opposed to Egdon’s plans in the Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

At the time of writing, more than 1,200 people had signed a petition against the proposal.

The area’s MP, Victoria Atkins (Conservative, Louth and Horncastle) has objected.

There have also been objections from CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England), Lincoln Climate Commission, Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service and Natural England, the government’s wildlife and landscape advisor.  

Grandparents Ian and Jane Rushby, from Hainton, posed as the oily drilling duck team. Jane said:

“We’re raising awareness that The Bain, our beautiful rare chalk stream, is at risk from pollution if planners at LCC approve an application for oil drilling at Biscathorpe.

“The latest international climate science report is clear, we must leave fossil fuels in the ground if we are to prevent more than oily ducks. The climate emergency is already killing children around the world, if we don’t urgently reduce CO2 emissions we are putting our grandchildren’s future at risk.

“Our MP, Victoria Atkins has publicly opposed the development and now it is time for LCC to reject years of ecological risks and carbon emitting oil drilling here close to the River Bain.”

Merryn Baker, 7, who goes to Donington On Bain primary school, said;

“We usually have a duck race but this year because we are worried about oil drilling, we held a ‘Dirty Duck Race’. I raced my Clean Future team duck and it won!”

The application is expected to come before next month’s meeting of LCC’s planning committee, on Monday 4 October 2021, at 10.30am in the council chamber, Newland, Lincoln LN1 1YL.

Updated 13/9/2021 to change the date when a decision is expected

4 replies »

  1. There is, of course, the opportunity to do research and become aware.

    Perhaps look at the thriving ducks on the River Test, (the top chalk river in the UK) which has oil extraction close by, and has had for many years without any problems. Still costs £1500 for a day ticket to fish, with lots of takers visiting to do so, and supporting the local economy-and fuel stations.

    Many tourists take pleasure in chucking in bread crumbs-not encouraged by the bailiffs-to watch whether the huge trout will win the fight with the ducks. Meanwhile, the River Itchen, the “poor twin” to the Test has suffered pollution from industry- chemical contamination from a salad washing factory!

    I do hope that will not preclude Merryn from eating salads. But, always good to have local production of your food, as well, so it is possible to verify and make certain high standards are maintained.

    (A lot of ducks produced in Lincolnshire, using a lot of fossil fuel to enable that production, and adding a lot of jobs, and revenue, to the local economy.)

  2. And, the oil extraction site at Stockbridge has been pumping away happily and safely for many years, and that stretch of the R.Test is still pristine-apart from the bread crumbs for the ducks.

    Many thanks for pointing out that there are many possible polluters of chalk streams, DoD, but oil extraction in UK has a track record which is clean, and can be inspected and will be. Of course, it would be possible also to focus upon agriculture, which is fundamental to Lincolnshire, and there the track record is not clean, but I believe most would still not want to cease agricultural output in Lincolnshire-“just in case”.

    Then, perhaps teachers at Donington on Bain primary school could show some of the river pollution over the horizon where standards are perhaps not so high, and remind the children that the environment and what happens in their name doesn’t cease within narrow borders. It is the same argument with respect to animal welfare. Those ducks in Lincolnshire may not be to everyone’s taste, but I can assure that they are reared to much higher standards than most imported ones. Consumers, which includes children, should accept that most things they do-including going to school- impacts the environment and the best way forward is for them to do so in a way where they know controls have been effective. And, be grateful they are not children in the DRC scrabbling around in the mud, missing their education, scraping out bits of cobalt for which they are rewarded with a pittance-probably insufficient to purchase a rubber, or plastic, duck- and possibly cancer, to allow “green” alternative methods of transport.

  3. So what’s the plan With cobalt or Lincolnshire drilling? Shall we just keep going as we are and not bother to think that perhaps relying on something that doesn’t run out and actually contributes to wellbeing might be better? Not thinking long term has led to much of our world’s current suffering. And remember, Long Island was safe – until it wasn’t.

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