The government has approved a plan for Egdon Resources to continue to drill for oil in North Lincolnshire.
The Hampshire-based oil and gas firm will now retain the well site at Lodge Farm, near Wressle, for production for 15 years after it won its appeal against North Lincolnshire Council.
It follows a three day inquiry held in Scunthorpe over the council’s refusal of the plan back in November 2018.
However, the council decided not to defend its reasons to reject the proposal on groundwater contamination concerns and “did not wish to provide evidence” at the hearing.
Now, the government’s planning inspector, Phillip Ware, has approved the proposal and awarded costs against the council.
In his decision, he said he gave “great weight” to the economic benefits of the plan,
“The council agrees with the appellant that the proposal would deliver economic benefits nationally and locally through taxation, business rates and direct and indirect jobs and would reduce the need for imported fuel,” he said.
“I give great weight to these and other benefits. In particular the proposal would make a significant contribution towards the provision of secure energy supplies and be consistent with the use of a mix of energy sources during the transition to a low carbon economy.”
He added that any adverse effects of the proposal would “not be significant” and could be “properly controlled and mitigated”.
Mark Abbott, managing director for Egdon, said he was pleased with the inspector’s decision.
“I am delighted that the Planning Inspectorate has made this positive determination in relation to this important asset for Egdon and our JV partners,” he said.
“We will now begin work on discharging the planning conditions and the detailed planning for the development works.
“We will continue to keep shareholders and the local community informed.”
As a result of the decision, the inspector awarded costs for the appeal against the council.
Mr Ware said the authority acted with “unreasonable behaviour”, delayed the development which resulted in “unnecessary and wasteful expense”.
The council did not resist the application for costs.
The decision follows a three-day inquiry held in November last year at The Hobbies Centre, Scunthorpe.
Egdon called five expert witnesses, including managing director Mark Abbott, and employed Hereward Phillpot QC to present its case.
Following the council’s decision not to defend its reasons for its refusal, campaigners who objected to the plan gave evidence.
They argued that a “rapid and deep cut” in carbon emissions is needed and said that the proposal would make the matter worse.
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