North Lincolnshire Council’s planning officer cut a lonely figure this week as he sat across from Egdon Resource’s men in suits.
The Hampshire-based oil and gas firm, armed with its Queen’s Council barrister and expert witnesses, took an iron grip of the Wressle well site as it wasted little time in making its case at a public inquiry.
After withdrawing its opposition to the plans to drill for 15 years at the site, the council left it to campaigners to object to the plans.
But, despite valiant efforts from those residents in attendance in Scunthorpe, it was too much to contend with.
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With a lack of formal opposition and an assembled team, headed by an expensive barrister, Egdon looked like they were not taking the inquiry lightly.
Hereward Phillpot QC described concerns about the well as “ill-founded” and his expert witness, Paul Foster, said councillors “did not understand” the firm’s plans back in November 2018.
All the while, the council officer sat in silence for most of the three-day inquiry.
The news that little opposition was made to Egdon’s plans will be greeted with glee by shareholders and investors in the city.
But, residents still fear that the proposal will wreck the village’s infrastructure and affect quality of life nearby.
Rebecca Fawcett, who lives locally, said that nature should be left to “thrive”.
Elsewhere, Andrew McLeod, an environmental activist and founder of Frack Free Isle, called on the inspector to reject the plan and “recognise the threat of climate change”.
Whether the government’s inspector, Phillip Ware, heeds the call will be revealed following the election when he intends to publish his decision.
Whatever the result, Egdon’s persistence in pursuing this plan is there for all to see.
Numerous planning rejections and two public inquiries later, it looks like they may finally get what they desire.
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