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. Glad to see the trend of refusal continuing , at last people are listening and researching for themselves, the threat of financial blackmail is no longer an influence on the voting.
    Hopefully by the time this gets to appeal the world will be on a different course .

    • High priced Russian, Norwegian and Qatari Gas and Oil heading for the UK for transport, heating and cooking!
      200 dollars a barrel Oil, on route in the next 12 months and the price of groceries are heading higher!!

      • Following the pleas for more gas, “Green” Europe is now begging Russia for more coal in an effort to keep the lights on and its citizens warm this winter, because intermittent renewables aren’t able to meet the demand.

  2. Well done campaigners!!! I know the hard work and effort you have put into getting to this stage … so glad it has paid off 👏👏👏✊✊✊

    • It changes everything for those living in the area of this proposed industrial development, obviously for the better.
      Just like residents of the Fylde Peninsula who no longer have to live in fear of their farming and tourism based traditional businesses being destroyed by the mendacious onshore oil and gas industry.

  3. [Edited by moderator] this minority of tree huggers, ornithologists and tie dye brigade win over regional, economic prosperity and lower fuel prices which would would have had a positive impact on the majority… beggars belief.

  4. So the council have voted against planning permission being granted, against the advice of their own planning officer, against the advice of their own solicitor and against the advice of the Highways department, the Environment Agency etc. etc. knowing full well that the council (us the taxpayers) will have to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in costs when the applicant wins on appeal. The council have lost the ability to impose conditions on approval, and the community have missed out on what could have been an extremely useful fund. And people find this cause for celebration! Quite pathetic really.
    Meanwhile, for an additional year oil and gas which could have been produced in this country will be imported, the Chinese will build another 100 coal fired power stations, while protestors pat themselves on the back for saving the planet!

    • A bit more imported energy, a bit more emissions, a bit more power for Putin & fellow oiligarks, a bit more damage to Britain’s economy, ecowarriors have much to celebrate!

  5. A bit more awareness, a bit more integrity, a bit more courage, a bit more optimism, a bit more openness and transparency, a bit more connectedness, a bit more representative of human values, a bit less blind cow-towing to power and wealth, a bit less venality, a bit less corruption, a bit less isolationism, “ecowarriors have much to celebrate!”

      • “Virtue signalling”, Rod, is not a term I use as it seems to be used as a cynical deprecatory put-down to the expression of any set of values which do not accord with the writer’s own apparent lack of the same values. It is ad hominem and belittling. Keeping the lights on for millions and rescuing them from fuel poverty is, I assure you, as close to my heart as you indicate that it is to yours, despite your implying the contrary. I do not however share your belief that the continuing or enhanced use of domestic sources of fossil fuels will have the effects we both desire. I see this position, regardless of any merit it might have, as driven by selfish corporations out to satisfy their own greed at the expense of the planet and furthered by manipulation and corruption. I am not interested in (possibly) furthering Britain’s economy in isolation from and at the expense of other countries and ultimately of the planet, and am persuaded that I am not alone in this and that the values implicit in your jibe are more widespread than you believe.

        • Laith1720. Good to receive a reasoned reply! No doubt there are bad apples in the fossil fuel industry ,as there are in the police, but the oil & gas industry as a whole has contributed immensely to cleaner air, reduced pollution, &, massively , to the taxes which fund all our social services.
          Less than 100 years ago our cities were black with soot, the famous smogs were not confined only to London, middle class households burned a ton of coal a month.
          The absolute priority now is to reduce world wide coal usage & discourage planned new coal fired plants. In a word if the coal based economies could be persuaded to switch to oil & gas a significant reduction in emissions would be achieved.
          I put it to you that we shall not achieve this by rushing into reducing our emissions at fanatical speed and rendering our economy uncompetitive. Our economic collapse will be noted by coal burning economies greatly to the detriment of world emissions. While ,on the home front, however “progressive” a government, it is the least well off who suffer most from a slumped economy.
          If , however, we & others can make a success of local oil & gas production, demonstrate economic & environmental benefit, then we might have a chance of influencing others to follow & so make a real difference to the environment.
          Whether you agree with that or not the hard fact is that we shall need some oil & gas for many years to come. Better for the environment & the economy that it be locally produced than imported.
          Looking to Europe as a whole would you really prefer ever greater dependence on obnoxious regimes such as Russia & Saudi Arabia or a properly regulated effort to home produce?
          Yes, we must continue to reduce oil & gas usage & many, relatively modest changes can contribute. My favourite is to supply the energy required by an average well insulated dwelling at a controlled cost & then to tax usage over that at escalating rates. Would the pay property owners to insulate without the corruption & rackets inevitable in the Government funding demanded by the “Insulate” mobs.
          As to “virtue Signalling”, I accept that many protesters are sincere environmentalists but a large number are selfish nimbies who feel entitled to have their energy piped in from less desirable areas while they protect their property values, in most cases quite unnecessarily. Meanwhile, their stooges, the unselfish sincere environmentalists achieve absolutely nothing to reduce world emissions. They simply signal their virtue.
          Finally, if you have read this far, may I suggest we now need protection against the apparent “right” to disruptive protest? Most reforms in the past have involved curtailing often loudly proclaimed “rights”, to own slaves, employ child labour, evict tenants, etc. It is now time to curb the “right” of any group , anti-vaxers, anti-frackers, religious fanatics,etc who consider their failure at the polls entitles them to the “right” to seriously disrupt the public, damage the economy & divert massive police resources.
          Stand with a placard proclaiming the end is nigh by all means but let others get on with the unglamorous boring grind of keeping the economy afloat.

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