November 6, 2019 5.01 pm This story is over 31 months old

Reject oil well plan to ‘recognise climate change threat’, demand campaigners

“Dismissing this appeal would be a significant step in the right direction.”

An oil well plan in North Lincolnshire should be rejected in order to “recognise the severe threat of climate breakdown”, a planning inquiry has heard.

Campaigners and local residents against a plan to continue to drill for oil and gas in Wressle told the inquiry that fossil fuels explored for at the site should “remain in the ground”.

Egdon Resources has appealed a decision by North Lincolnshire Council to refuse plans to retain the well near Lodge Farm for a further 15 years.

Andrew McLeod, a local resident and environmental campaigner, said a “rapid and deep cut” in carbon emissions was needed and argued that the proposal would make the matter worse.

“It’s time to choose between fossil fuels and a tolerable climate, we cannot have both,” he said.

The opening of the Wressle oil well inquiry at the Hobbies Centre, Scunthorpe. Picture: Calvin Robinson.

“Fixing this [carbon emissions] is a massive challenge but it’s possible, provided we stop literally pouring fuel on the fire by allowing the fossil fuel industry to continue bringing new reserves of oil and gas on-stream.

“Dismissing this appeal would be a significant step in the right direction.”

He added that the planning system “should recognise the severe threat of climate breakdown” by refusing the plan.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Fawcett, who lives in the village, said that residents would have to contend with noise, smell and pollution due to the well.

She added that she was concerned that the plan would have an effect on local wildlife.

The oil well in Wressle, North Lincolnshire.

“If we want to thrive, then we need to let nature thrive as well,” she said.

The inquiry, which opened yesterday in Scunthorpe, was told that the council’s initial refusal was concerns over groundwater contamination.

James Dodds, chairperson of Envireau Ltd, gave evidence to the inquiry on hydrogeology and water management.

He said the development did not “constitute an unacceptable risk to groundwater or surface water by virtue of infiltration or runoff”.

Hereward Phillpot QC, who presented Egdon’s case, told the inquiry that the company had addressed concerns raised and that the authority had “no proper or reasonable grounds” for refusal.

North Lincolnshire Council is no longer opposed to the plan and has withdrawn its case.

The government’s planning inspector, Phillip Ware, is expected to make a site visit to the well and hear closing statements tomorrow.

Mr Ware said his decision on the plan following the closure of the inquiry will be made after the General Election (December 12).

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