October 29, 2019 4.43 pm This story is over 32 months old

Council drops case against oil firm’s drilling rights bid

Campaigners say they are “profoundly disappointed”

North Lincolnshire Council will not put forward a case against oil drilling in the region at a public inquiry next week.

An appeal hearing will be held in Scunthorpe on Tuesday (November 5) after the council refused a plan by Egdon Resources to continue to drill at Lodge Farm, near Wressle.

But, the government’s planning inspectorate confirmed that the authority has informed them that it “no longer wished to present evidence” at the inquiry.

Campaigners have said they are “profoundly disappointed” with the decision.

The council’s planning committee unanimously rejected the plan back in November 2018, which would have seen Egdon retain the well site for another 15 years.

It was the third time the authority rejected a proposal by the company.

Local campaigner Elizabeth Williams (right) with resident Amanda Suddaby following the Biscathorpe decision at Lincolnshire County Council in May 2018.

Councillors on the authority raised concern about the “negative impact” the plan would have on residents in the area.

Campaigner Elizabeth Williams, who spoke against the proposal at the time, said the original decision was a “vote of no confidence” in the oil firm.

“We are profoundly disappointed that North Lincolnshire Council are no longer opposing this,” she said.

“Our councillors on the planning committee voted unanimously against any further development at Wressle well and it was a vote of no confidence in the oil and gas company’s experience and confidence to carry out novel and risky procedures at the well.”

Centre: Mark Abbott, managing director of Egdon Resources. Picture: Calvin Robinson

Meanwhile, Herewood Phillpot QC will present Egdon’s case at the inquiry, which is expected to last for six days.

The company will also call on five expert witnesses, including managing director Mark Abbott.

Planning Inspector, Phillip Ware, will chair the inquiry which will be held at The Hobbies Centre, Scunthorpe.

Mr Abbott said that, while the firm was pleased to see the objections dropped, it still needed to seek planning approval from the inspector.

Campaigners against the oil well at Wressle demonstrate outside North Lincolnshire Council. Picture: Calvin Robinson.

“While this is all good news, it doesn’t change the fact that the council refused our application at committee,” he said.

“We still need to be able to present our case to the Inspector so the inquiry will go ahead as planned in early November. We are hoping for a decision this side of Christmas.”

North Lincolnshire Council has been approached for comment.

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