Council officials have recommended approval of major plans for production, drilling and extension at Rathlin Energy’s well site at West Newton-A.
A report to East Riding of Yorkshire Council published this morning said nearly 400 people had objected to the proposals, as well seven parish councils and three environmental groups.
The decision is expected to be made next week (Thursday 17 March) at a meeting in Beverely.
The application includes 20 years of oil and gas production, a doubling of the site size and drilling a further four wells. The planners have recommended 21 conditions, including a ban on the use of hydraulic fracturing.
An larger scheme, for six new wells and a near tripling of the site, was refused by councillors in September 2021, despite support from planners.
Many objections to both applications had been about the impact on climate change and carbon reduction targets. Many said it contradicted the council’s declaration of a climate emergency.
The planners concluded that while climate change was “a significant material consideration in general terms, the planning policy implications of the Council declaring a Climate Change Emergency will however be considered through the preparation of new planning policy in the review of the East Riding Local Plan”.
Their report said:
“Whilst there is a firm commitment on the part of Government to move to a low carbon economy, in the transition period there will still need to be a secure and reliable supply of energy sources. Whilst the burning of hydrocarbons produced by the proposals will undoubtedly give rise to unwelcome carbon emissions, it is important to note that the consent is limited to 25 years and that during that time it is anticipated that there will be a substantial restructuring of the UK economy to enable it to become based upon low carbon.
“In the transition period the economic component of sustainable development means that it is essential for the UK to be able to draw upon traditional sources of energy, which comprise a resilient form of supply. This is fully supported by UK Government policy. Such emissions to air need to be viewed in this context therefore, however unwelcome.
“Overall the proposals will accord with the policies of the development plan, and, on balance are consistent with national policy.”
An application for a second nearby Rathlin Energy site has also been recommended for approval.
The company sought consent for another three years at the West Newton-B site. The site was previously approved in June 2015.
The planning meeting is at 10am on Thursday 17 March 2022 at County Hall in Beverley