Opponents of oil operations in the Lincolnshire Wolds were celebrating tonight after councillors refused planning permission for long-term extraction.
Lincolnshire County Council, meeting this afternoon at a country hotel near Louth, voted by seven votes to four with two abstentions against an application by Egdon Resources for its site at Biscathorpe.
The company wanted to drill a sidetrack well and produce oil for 15 years.
It was the first time the council had refused a planning application for the Biscathorpe site, which has had consent since 2015. Councillors went against the recommendation of planning officers to approve the scheme
Opinions appeared to swing in favour and against during discussions lasting nearly two hours.
Councillors seemed reluctant to approve oil extraction at the site, which is in the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Some said there were no planning reasons to refuse, while others pointed to potential harm to the AONB and what they said were the limited likely benefits.
Nick Bodian, chair of the community liaison group for oil drilling at Biscathorpe and a member of the local campaign group SOS Biscathorpe, spoke against the application. After the decision, he said:
“I am very pleased that Lincolnshire County Council have actually carried out what their climate summit two weeks ago pledged: that they must show real leadership and take some real action.
“After a very difficult planning meeting, they can say they are really doing that.”
Mr Bodian also called for new legislation on planning to meet the needs of climate change:
“The National Planning Policy Framework has to be changed to prevent any future oil and gas exploitation onshore.”
Amanda Suddaby, who has campaigned against the Biscathorpe appliciation, said:
“I am just delighted. It vindicates all the hard work in fighting this application.
“What was said in the meeting proves that we need new legislation. It is wrong to be so difficult to come to the right conclusion.
“The decision is important because it sets a precedent for other sites that are still being threatened, like near North Kelsey, where planning permission expires at the end of this year.”
Egdon Resources, in a statement this afternoon, said:
“We will await the formal decision notice before taking advice and considering our options including an appeal.”
Reporting at this meeting was made possible by donations from individual DrillOrDrop readers