New plans for commercial oil production at site where controversial scheme has twice been rejected

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 6 Jul 2018

Plans to drill for gas and oil in at a site in North Lincolnshire have been resubmitted.

It comes after North Lincolnshire Council's planning committee twice rejected proposals by Egdon Resources for drilling at the site in Wressle.

The Government's Planning Inspectorate also turned down the application on appeal but upheld a decision for the firm to retain the well at Wressle.

Egdon Resources has now submitted a new planning application for its Wressle site, which the company says "comprehensively addresses the reasons for the refusal of the original planning applications and the subsequent appeals".

A statement from the company said: "The application is supported by a detailed planning and sustainability statement, a suite of technical drawings showing construction and layout details and updated and new technical assessments.


Egdon Resources representatives with managing director Mark Abbott (far left) at the planning committee meeting in January 2017. (Image: David Haber)

"The application takes full account of the key findings of the Planning Inspector's decision to dismiss the company’s appeals which identified three key issues that led to his decision - The absence of a ground conditions survey report; The absence of sufficient evidence on the adequacy of the Geosynthetic Clay Liner (GCL) covering, and uncertainty with regards to the near-surface geology and specifically the presence of capping layers to the underlying aquifers.

"The new application therefore includes an independent Ground Investigation Report which evaluates and confirms the underlying ground condition at the wellsite.

"The wellsite would also be reconfigured, under the new application, to install a new, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) impermeable membrane on top of the existing GCL, with additional associated protection layers across the entire wellsite.

"The specification of the new membrane, and associated protection layers, has been informed by a Ground Investigation Report, tested and validated in a laboratory, and agreed between the membrane manufacturer and Egdon’s consulting civil and structural engineers.

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The third issue has been addressed through an updated independent Hydrogeological and Flood Risk Assessment (HRA), which includes the results of samples tested from two boreholes drilled in early 2018. This assessment confirms the detail of the near-surface geology and conclusively demonstrates the presence of laterally continuous capping layers to the underlying aquifers.

"The application has been submitted to North Lincolnshire Council and once validated, will be reviewed by the council’s planning officers, considered by statutory consultees and will be open for comment from interested parties. The period of consultation should be 13 weeks for an application of this nature."


Protestors outside the Civic Centre in Scunthorpe ahead of a North Lincolnshire Council planning meeting where a previous application for oil production at the Wressle site was discussed

Mark Abbott, managing director of Egdon Resources, said: "The proposed development incorporates high levels of protection measures to minimise the potential for any environmental or other impacts from our operations.

"The effectiveness of this mitigation will be verified by continuous monitoring of the nearby water and groundwater.

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"We hope that North Lincolnshire Council will recognise the positive changes made to the proposed development when determining this planning application and we remain available to address any remaining questions or concerns which may arise during the consultation and determination process."

If the application is successful, the company plans to establish a liaison group and a community fund to ensure local people are kept fully informed and share in the benefits of the Wressle development.


Campaigner Geraldine Clayton outside the Civic Centre ahead of the planning meeting to discuss a previous application for oil drilling in Wressle in July 2017. (Image: David Haber)

Geraldine Clayton, who has campaigned against the development alongside the Frack Free Lincolnshire group, said: "We knew that they were going to put one in. The Planning Inspector's decision was absolutely damning."

Geraldine said she is concerned about the water usage and would like to see "more information" from the company on this.

"They have been playing fast and loose with the planning both here and in Lincolnshire," she said.

The campaigner also raised concerns over changing time variations.



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