Campaigners celebrate West Newton refusal

Opponents of 20 years of production and six new wells at an oil field in East Yorkshire have been celebrating the refusal of planning permission.

Some of the opponents outside East Riding of Yorkshire Council in Beverley, 30 September 2021. Photo: used with the owner’s consent

East Riding Council’s planning committee voted by seven to five against the scheme by Rathlin Energy for its West Newton-A site in Holderness. Details here

Committee members said the site’s expansion, which would have trebled its footprint, was disproportionate and out of character for the area. They also said the number of heavy lorries expected to serve the site was unacceptable on local rural roads.

This was the first time East Riding councillors have refused a planning application from Rathlin Energy.

Harry Clark, who lives near West Newton-A, spoke against the application this morning. After the decision, he said:

“I am delighted that a majority of Councillors on the East Riding of Yorkshire Council Planning Committee, have taken into account the findings of an expert report on the unsuitability of the local roads in the area of the West Newton well site, this accords with the views of local people.

“They also agreed with the view, that the scope of the development exceeded that which fits in with the local environment thus taking account of cumulative impact, which the East Riding of Yorkshire Council Officers have clearly failed to do but which is a major local concern’.’

In a statement, the local campaign group Fossil Free East Yorkshire said:

“This was a terrible application, not just bcs of the overriding and blindingly obvious issue of climate change, but because it was incomplete, inadequate, and we believe, breached local and national policies.

“Although shocked that so many councillors still supported this plan for oil drilling, even as the climate breaks down around us, we are delighted and relieved that a majority listened to the overwhelming opposition from just about everybody, and refused it.

“Local communities campaigned hard for 7 years to prevent Holderness being industrialised into an oil field, and to save future generations from climate chaos, and at last they are being listened to.”

The ward councillor, Conservative Jacob Birch, who spoke against the application this morning, said:

“I am overjoyed to say that after an incredible amount of hard work the ERYC planning committee have to day refused permission for Rathlin’s latest application. This is a fantastic turn of events and a massive well done to all those involved in the hard work to get this far!”

A former executive at East Riding council, who criticised the planners’ recommendation to approve the West Newton-A application, described the decision as “great news”. Jon Mager, the ex director of children and adult’s services, said:

“It is very pleasing that you have some councillors who have listened, done some research and are prepared to get stuck in. This is very different from previous applications by Rathlin Energy. “

But Mr Mager said:

“It is obvious that East Riding officers advised the planning committee to “let the wrong one in”. This application was the result of Rathlin Energy getting a very large foot in the door. It is very pleasing that there are enough councillors on that committee to slam the door.”

Shares in Union Jack Oil (left) and Reabold Resources (right) fell on news of the refusal

In a statement this afternoon, Rathlin Energy, said:

“We would like to thank the planning committee for considering our application. We will now review our options before deciding on a relevant course of action to take.”

Shares in Rathlin Energy’s partners dropped on the news. Shortly after the announcement, Reabold Resources, which holds 56% of the West Newton licence, was down more than 10% at 0.16p. Union Jack Oil, which holds more than 16.5%, fell more than 7% to 20.90p and

A brief statement from Union Jack said:

“The East Riding of Yorkshire Council Planning Committee has elected to decline the Application.   Further updates will be announced in due course.”

One investor said on Twitter:

“Negative update on West Newton for #RBD [Reabold Resources] and #UJO [Union Jack Oil]. But following the disappointing test result over the summer it might be good for #UJO not to spend too much more money on this asset. #RBD is in a more fragile situation.”

Another said:

“So we didn’t get the development plan permission. 5 in favour/ 7 against. Was a close call. Focus now on WNA2 and getting the flowing to change poeples minds and provide equity that perhaps we can do pipeline instead of using the roads. Let’s see.”

36 replies »

  1. Look at the facts and how much oil and gas is imported to UK.

    For instance: UK gets from Russia regime almost 4 bln ton of crude oil and natural gas a year…

    Import is much more damaging to environment than sourcing locally to high standards.
    All global movements should be reduced and we should use what is locally available, that is the best way to limit damage to global environment.

  2. Ecowarriors celebrating upon? Their plastic keyboards!

    A lot more hypocrisy.

    Have they crowd funded the repayment of £400k to the locals around Wressle yet? Nope. Good job the operators will plonk some funds back into the community-but, it will take a long time to recoup £400k.

    • To put it all is prespective,China has announced plans to drill 100,000 plus new oil and gas wells by 2026. But, obviously the stopping of 6 wells int’ Yarkshire will save the planet!

      • If your neighbour wants to poo on their front garden, do you think this would make you want to do the same?

  3. Thanks, Rod, reasoned and reasonable food for thought even if I don’t share your belief that we should not “ signal our virtue” as this will necessarily be unproductive. I think it all comes down to whether or not one is optimistic concerning the perfectibility of our fellow humans. Despite much evidence to the contrary, I favour optimism.
    I don’t condemn the Industrial Revolution, Rod. It would be foolish to argue against or deny the progress this has facilitated for humanity. I do regret however, as I am sure do you, that these benefits have not been more equitably spread over the planet and that we have effectively ignored the warning signs of the last 50 years in the belief that science will provide a ‘cure all’. Mendacity has been the answer of big business to all attempts to rectify this discrepancy between the traditional means of achieving growth and their consequences
    I do believe that collectively we have failed to comprehend the gravity of the situation.
    However, I wander far from the immediate point over which I fear we must agree to differ.

    • Dear laith, Thanks, but sorry you are so anti-business. As a wiser man that I said; “Throughout most of human history, nearly everyone was poor. Everywhere that capitalism subsequently took hold, national wealth began to increase and poverty began to fall. Everywhere that capitalism didn’t take hold, people remained impoverished.” Meanwhile your comrades blocking ambulances are doing a good job of turning the public against sensible moves to reduce emissions.
      You come over as a decent person. Do you really want to be tainted by association with ambulance blockers.?

      • Rod-those against capitalism are okay, until they have to articulate the alternative. As another wise person said, “life is not perfect, but the alternative is a lot worse”!

        I have done my share of protesting, but in my youth it was recognised protesting was not about individuals venting their grievances, it was about obtaining wider public support. At the very least, I was expected to be able to articulate a factual account of the history around the protest I engaged with. Today, many can’t.
        More recently, I lived in Newbury. I had some respect for the Greenham Common women because they followed that simple path, but none with Swampy and his mates as they didn’t, which was obvious to residents.

      • In 1932 around 500 walkers, mostly from Manchester, trespassed en masse and walked from Hayfield to Kinder Scout to secure access right to open country for all to enjoy forever

        If you don’t agree with peoples right to demonstrate and break laws to draw attention to serious issues you may want to stay indoors and not enjoy the freedom to walk in the countryside. You wouldn’t want to be tainted with association to trespassers or hypocrisy.

        • If Rathlin go to appeal I hope they can afford the costs they will incur. I think any inspector would find that the Committee’s decision was not so unreasonable as to be “Wednesbury” unreasonable in that it was not so unreasonable that no reasonable authority would have come to this decision.

          “The application for an award of costs is refused”

          Click to access Appendix%20C.pdf

          More worries for troubled investors.

          • Well, jP, I think you will find an Inspector has already ruled costs at Wressle.

            Also strange you were less concerned about the people around Wressle, and whether they could afford the costs.

            Also, the little fact that the Council officers advised in favour of this application will be interesting to observe.

            Reference your point 2. As my house is fully insulated would I be chucked some money so I did not miss out on the largesse? Otherwise I would have to glue myself somewhere inappropriate as my economy on holidays etc. to enable me to fund the insulation had not been recognized. Once again the equation doesn’t balance. But-what’s new?

  4. And to MFC. It is tempting to support protests one approves of but who is to decide. There are many groups wishing to impose their strongly held beliefs. If one group are seen to achieve their aims by blocking roads & daubing buildings the next lot will up the anti
    We shall end up dictated to by the most vicious gang on the block.
    Extinction Rebellion// Insulate have abused the right to protest & should be dealt with as the anti social criminals they are.
    I an sure the Kinder Scout walkers would have deplored blocking ambulances.

    • I am sure the Kinder Scout walkers would have supported the Insulate Britain demands which are,

      1. That the UK government immediately promises to fully fund and take responsibility for the insulation of all social housing in Britain by 2025;

      2. That the UK government immediately promises to produce within four months a legally binding national plan to fully fund and take responsibility for the full low-energy and low-carbon whole-house retrofit , with no externalised costs, of all homes in Britain by 2030 as part of a just transition to full decarbonisation of all parts of society and the economy.

  5. JOHN POWNEY perhaps some Kinder Scouters would have supported throwing other people’s money at pointless gestures but I am fairly sure NOT ONE would have blocked ambulances.
    Your heartless rabble are simply turning us off sensible environmental measures

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