January 26, 2022 2.56 pm This story is over 29 months old

Council prepares to defend appeal against Lincolnshire Wolds oil drill refusal

Campaigners were relieved last month after councillors rejected the plans

Lincolnshire County Council has said it will defend its decision to refuse permission to major oil companies to drill in the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty after the company behind the proposals announced it will appeal the outcome.

Egdon Resources’ plans for Biscathorpe, to draw up more than 30 million barrels of oil and provide 15 years’ supply, were rejected by Lincolnshire County Council in November.

Councillors and campaigners said the proposals would spoil the Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and that the benefits did not outweigh the harmful impacts.

A statement from Egdon released this week said it was “pleased” to advise its intention to submit an appeal to proceed with the side-track drilling operation, associated testing and long-term oil production at the Biscathorpe site.

“The decision has been made after reviewing LCC’s decision notice, taking advice from our planning and legal advisors and in agreement with our joint venture partners.

“The appeal documentation is currently in preparation and is expected to be submitted during quarter one 2022.”

A spokesman for Lincolnshire County Council said it was aware of the appeal to be made in February.

“The council will be defending its reason for refusing the application,” they said.

Lincolnshire County Council’s planning committee on November 1.

The Biscathorpe plans faced a fierce backlash with a petition handed to the council carrying more than 1,790 signatures, while more than 200 locals also submitted objections.

Campaigners said the drill would emit huge amounts of carbon and will fly in the face of climate concerns – though the climate does not come under planning regulations.

Five of the parish councils closest to the site – Donnington-On-Bain, Hemingby, South Elkington, Welton-Le-Wold and South Willingham – were also against the plans, along with MP for Louth and Horncastle Victoria Atkins, Natural England, Historic England, and multiple others.

The developers said the site would be restored to agricultural use once the drilling had finished.

Egdon previously drilled in the location in 2018 and said there was little impact, it also said it was going to work closely with the Environment Agency.

When the plans were refused, many campaigners said they expected the decision to be appealed but would not give up their fight.