March 7, 2022 5.00 pm

Oil company’s plan to extend exploration in Lincolnshire village up for approval

Campaigners fear major harm to the area and its wildlife

An oil company’s plans to extend its exploration plans near North Kelsey are up for approval by Lincolnshire County Council next week.

Officers at the authority will recommend Egdon Resource’s plans be given approval by members of the Planning and Regulation Committee next Monday.

Egdon says its exploratory drilling could provide valuable indigenous oil reserves for the country, however, campaigners fighting the plans say they will cause major harm to the area and its wildlife.

The application before councillors next week seeks to amend the date by which restoration of the sites needs to be completed and vary the direction of drilling to “secure an optimal ‘bottom hole target location’ within the North Kelsey Prospect”.

In their report, officers said: “The principle of both the developments subject of these applications has been established and consequently the key issue, in these cases, is to consider if the proposed extension of time and a revised direction of drilling would materially change effects on amenity, since the grant of these permissions.

“In considering these applications it is acknowledged that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to delays in securing contracts and services across many areas of industry and continued beyond initial expectations of how long the pandemic would last.”

Egdon has had permission to explore in the area since 2014 and has since made several applications to extend the period and some of the conditions.

There are fears over the landscape near Caistor if the North Kelsey drill goes ahead. | Photo: Supplied

Mark Abbott, managing director of Egdon, recently told reporters that events in Ukraine “starkly illustrate” the importance of fuel independence in the UK.

Russia has been invading Ukraine for over a week now. The news has seen the price of oil rise spike sharply.

“Despite the UK’s progress in renewable forms of energy, oil remains a critical resource to heat our homes and businesses, fuel our transport and is an important feedstock for the manufacture of numerous everyday goods including items as diverse as medicines and the blades for wind turbines.

“Government policy makes it clear that oil and gas remains an important part of the UK’s energy mix and the Energy White Paper (2020) confirms that the need for oil and gas will continue for decades to come and indeed even beyond 2050.”

Campaigners against the plans, however, feel the amount of oil from the land would be “trivial” when compared against the impact on the local area.

They say the site is home to numerous rare and declining wildlife species and concerns include air, light, noise and traffic pollution, loss of amenity, visual impact and the negative effect on local businesses in farming and tourism.

They are backed by five parish councils, Caistor Town Council, West Lindsey District Council and Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh among others.