Egdon accused of “planning by stealth” with third bid for more time at North Kelsey

The operator of a Lincolnshire oil site, where only limited work has been carried out since 2014, has been accused of “planning by stealth”.

North Kelsey wellsite, Lincolnshire. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

Egdon Resources is seeking another 12 months at the North Kelsey site near the Lincolnshire Wolds – its third application to extend the duration of the planning permission.

Consent was first granted more than seven years ago. Since then, Egdon has built only the site entrance and a layby.

The company has blamed its lack of progress on low oil prices, Covid-19, the withdrawal of a partner and delays at another site.

But in that time, it has added permissions for extra cabins, tanks and lighting towers and changed the site layout. The latest application includes a request for a sidetrack well.

Amanda Suddaby, a campaigner against the site, said:

“Egdon Resources have had permission to drill here for seven years. In that time all they’ve done is submit numerous plans to expand the scope of the development. 

“This practice of ‘planning by stealth’ creates anxiety for local people. It undermines public confidence in our decision-makers.

“Thank goodness though, that they haven’t started any real work, because this can still be stopped before any major harm is done to this beautiful environment and the wildlife that it supports.”

West Lindsey District Council has objected to what it described as “incremental expansion through multiple planning applications”. It said:

“This is not just an extension of time.

“Since the original approval in 2014, this development has been expanded through subsequent planning applications and Egdon are now asking to widen the scope of the permitted activities by requesting that sidetrack drilling be added.

“Yet, there is a complete absence of detail in the Planning Statement as to whether this change will have any consequential impacts.”

So far, the latest changes at the wellsite have also been opposed by five of the closest parish councils, representing six villages, Lincolnshire Climate Commission, the Caistor GO2 environmental group and the local Conservative MP, Edward Leigh.

At the time of writing, an online petition against the scheme has more than 400 signatures.

Amanda Suddaby said:

“We need Lincolnshire County Council’s planning committee to reject Egdon’s plans. In September 2020 committee members said there should be no more extensions of time. We need them to stand by that and finally put an end to the years of anxiety that local people have endured.”

West Lindsey District Council said there was “a high risk” that further extensions would be needed:

“the slightest hitch means that they [Egdon] will run out of time.

“There are serious questions as to whether the timescales being put forward by the applicant are realistic, particularly following the lack of progress so far, and this may further prolong uncertainty and anxiety for the local population.”

Caistor Town Council and Grasby Parish Council expressed concern about the lack of progress and questioned the company’s justification of more time.

Holton Le Moor Parish Meeting said in its objection:

“It is an abuse of the principles of the planning process to extend the time period for the development simply because the applicant has not deemed it appropriate for them to commence the development.

“If Egdon Resources wish to develop the site then they should do so within the parameters of the planning permission that currently exists. Extending the time period introduces uncertainty and concern for residents with no end date.”

North Kelsey Parish Council said:

“There has already been too much leeway granted for this project”.

It said the sidetrack direction could change again if Egdon were granted permission, with a direct impact on nearby homes.

It raised concerns about noise, light and air pollution, lack of screening, threat to tourism and the hazards of large vehicles on a blind bend for walkers, horse riders and cyclists. It also said oil produced at the site would provide only enough to satisfy UK consumption for a few hours.

Residents gathered near the site this week to draw attention to what they believe is the threat to rare and protected birds, such as lapwing, fieldfare, skylark, yellowhammer, barn owls and tree sparrows.

They also said the scheme contradicted national targets for emissions reductions and Lincolnshire’s policies on the environment, carbon management and transition away from fossil fuels.

There were no comments on the proposals from Anglian Water. Natural England said it was not able to “fully assess potential impacts” on nature conservation sites or protected landscapes.

The Environment Agency, Lincolnshire Police and the local highways authority had no objections.

The application could be decided by Lincolnshire’s planning committee on 14 February or 14 March 2022.

Link to application

8 replies »

  1. Residents gathered near the site. Why? To bring attention to disturbance to local wildlife!!

    Next, they will dress as owls and prance around “concerned” that owls will be disturbed.

    Only enough to satisfy UK consumption for a few hours? Then, lots more sites required then! Just the same as wind turbines.

    Not sure a lot of thought has yet been applied to how to protest about this one.

    However, I do notice this am that some are just starting to calculate how to recover all that tax from motor vehicles that will be lost. As I thought, charging for each journey being suggested as the best option. Sounds okay? Nope. Big Brother receiving details of every journey anyone makes through their vehicles computer. Acceptable? Hmmm. Maybe to divorce lawyers, but I expect not to anyone else. This is going to be interesting and the civil liberty lot will have a field day with it. Perhaps it should all have been sorted a long time ago?

    • Big Brother and Civil Liberty? What? Like the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill and Priti Patel attempting to crush the Civil Liberty of protesters, against the loss of Civil Liberty by Priti Patel in favour of the fossil fuel Industry you mean?

      Interesting isn’t it. It always seems AOK when it’s other people’s Civil Liberty Human Rights being crushed, but not when those very same Big Brother totalitarian elements in government threaten to track every movement of your own, and then it’s suddenly its all:

      “Big Brother receiving details of every journey anyone makes through their vehicles computer. Acceptable? Hmmm.”

      And “Sounds okay? Nope.”

      That’s quite funny really, though in actual fact it’s not funny at all. No more than the rejected modifications to the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill is it.

      However. And this is a first, (Well there has to be a first time for everything doesn’t there? I must have a temperature) but I may be persuaded to agree with you? WHAT! (on this subject at least anyway) That Big Brother totalitarian elements in government threaten to track every movement …. (Wait for it! Wait for it!) …..of….. “everyone”! …… Yayy!!

      (except for the Big Brother totalitarians themselves, of course)

      Wonders will never cease, will they!

      Have a Nice Day

      • Ahh, I have a convert!

        Seriously, the way this little gem has been put out there as if it is straightforward at this late stage will be interesting to watch. At my age, I will be outside of any impact but I can see this practical issue suddenly not looking that practical. Apart from the civil liberties bit, when has any UK Government managed to achieve a complicated computer network? £10 billion spent on the NHS one, and then scrapped.

        But there are lots of those within net zero. £1.5m extra cost to a 60 resident care home to install heat pumps is another. That NI isn’t going very far.

        Never mind. According to bacon Ed, there is this Golden egg laying Goose that can be raided that has been “fully costed”, although no dialogue with the Goose, and no impact assessment regarding how the Goose would react. Nicking eggs off a goose is not recommended. They have a habit of making it very uncomfortable. The sound bite might turn out to be something quite different to what is claimed.

        • Ha! Ha! Funny guy! I was under the impression from your post, that you are the new convert against Big Brother and the totalitarian tiptoe? But never mind. But if that’s the only way you are able to perceive it, then what the frack? The most important thing, is that you do at last. But take it gently, though, full conversion takes a while. Lots more conversions to come yet.

          I was there long before you mate. As was only too recently “demonstrated” (oops!).

          Peers defeat government anti-protest laws
          By Ruth Hayhurst on January 18, 2022

          Now there was a victory against the same Big Brother, wasn’t it. And now you have just become a convert to realise that Big brother wants to receive details of every journey anyone makes through their vehicles’ computer. A small step, but a necessary one.

          Congratulations! Enjoy your new-found conversion. The first of many, one hopes.

          That was the first step to a new future for…(Wait for it! Wait for it!)…. “everyone!”…. Yayy!!

          • Nope.

            No victory, no defeat, just ping pong. I think a headline has caused a bit of over excitement. One bash back over the net is no victory, as it will just be biffed over again until the Lords are finally overcome, as is always the case, but more opportunities to collect their £300. Sorry, but the arithmetic means that as long as the majority of the Tories in the Commons support legislation, it will be passed, and probably without amendment-and that arithmetic is Priti set. They also have the ability to change the arithmetic in the Lords, if they want to, which is usually enough to bring the Lords in line after a few bashes.

            But, if that one bash is keeping you happy, hold onto it.

            With Covid taking up less time in HoC, then I suspect it will be wrenched out of your grasp fairly quickly. That’s the arithmetic of democracy-majority votes decide. And the majority find the slippery slope of protest deliberately aimed against their well being, concerns and pockets to try and impose something they don’t agree with, then the majority need further legislation to control and protect their freedoms.

            Trumping the freedoms of the many? Oh dear! Next, you will want to storm the HoC to change the vote.

  2. I am extremely chilled, Jono. Sorry, but it takes a lot more than I see on DoD to get me worried, or excited.

    You should worry more about those who will be chilled and made ill from not being able to afford to heat or eat. I see the BBC have already dusted off the size 18/20 single mothers who are unable to afford to feed themselves if their many children are not to starve. Plus, the “soaring interest rates” have reached the heady heights of??? 0.5%!

    Yet, very few comments about many households having significantly increased their savings during the pandemic. Shush. That would just inform and remove some anxiety, and that is not what the media are for anymore

    But, the sun is shining and spring is around the corner.

  3. Just to note that the EU has designated natural gas as a “sustainable” fuel in so far as it replaces more polluting fuels (eg coal) and contributes towards climate goals. Yes of course. In the USA the massive shale gas revolution has knocked huge chunks out of the Coal industry. So essay homework of the week is “Shale gas is a sustainable bridge fuel on the road to Zero Carbon.” Discuss.

Add a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s