May 11, 2022 10.38 am

Pilgrims aged 9 to 90 walk in opposition to oil drilling in Lincolnshire Wolds

The group is worried about environmental damage if drilling goes ahead

By Local Democracy Reporter

Campaigners fighting oil drilling plans have carried out a pilgrimage of protest across the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Over 40 people took part in the 17 mile ‘act of solidarity’ from Nettleton to Biscarthorpe – two areas where oil company Egdon is hoping to start work.

People from nine to 90 marched carrying banners, including three generations of one family.

Permission was granted for exploratory drilling in North Kelsey in 2014, but the company’s request to extend the deadline for the third time was rejected last month.

An application to drill in Biscathorpe was also refused last year, although Egdon plans to appeal both decisions.

The walk was organised by Faith and the Environment Lincolnshire in conjunction with SOS North Kelsey and SOS Biscathorpe, with campaigners saying they wanted to show opposition to any future plans.

Sarah from Horncastle said: “I am worried for my child’s future and I wanted to be with passionate people who feel compelled to act. This act of solidarity in the face of untold danger was really important to me.”

The 17 mile march went from Nettleton to Biscathorpe, near two potential drilling sites | Photo: Christine Hall (SOS North Kelsey)

Imogen Wilde said: “I walked today with my father and my daughter because Egdon’s plans to drill here will cause immediate habitat and landscape destruction, will threaten the fragile chalk stream and will accelerate global climate change through the release of new fossil fuels.”

Organiser Sandie Stratford said: “Many people feel strongly about the climate emergency, and it was this that prompted us to make a pilgrimage from North Kelsey Moor to Biscarthorpe.

“England has a strong tradition of pilgrimage as protest. I walked from London to Glasgow for COP26 last year, and I found that walking together has a profound effect on people.”

Egdon says that the drilling would provide increased oil security for the UK, with 30 million barrels of oil believed to be located under Biscathorpe.

It said the delays had been partly due to the pandemic, and that environmental damage would be minimal.

However, the plans triggered widespread outrage from local people and parish councils.

A council report said that the repeated extensions had worsened community’s anxiety.

Lincolnshire County Councillor Paul Skinner said at the meeting: “They had the opportunity since 2014, it was written in quite clearly the reasons they weren’t going to get another extension. They’ve had eight years to do something and really I see they’ve done nothing.”