A Planning Application to drill for oil should be refused, say independent planning experts
A major oil and gas field will be developed in countryside between Hull, Beverley, and Hornsea, with up 25 years of drilling and oil production if East Riding of Yorkshire Councillors approve the Planning Application.1
But independent planning experts say the Application should be refused, as a number of important documents are missing or inadequate.2
They also consider the application “wholly contrary to the Government’s aim to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050” so approving it “would be fundamentally flawed”.3
Regarding the increase in traffic, they insist the application is particularly flawed. Constructing and servicing the well site would require 17,000 HGV journeys. Once production starts, the oil would be transported by road tanker, on quiet rural roads, then via Beverley or Hull and over the Humber Bridge to the refinery. This would result in up to 25 tankers a day – an HGV every 14 minutes, 7 days a week.
However, “The proposed routes are neither safe nor suitable” for such a high number of large construction vehicles and oil tankers. The oil company, Rathlin Energy, have not properly considered the impact on vulnerable road users, known to include pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders. The report notes for example, that the proposed traffic route crosses the Trans Pennine Trail, one of the many routes in the area popular with walkers, cyclists and horse-riders. The Planning Application has not analysed this impact, as it should have done.2
HGVs passing through the village of Sproatley and around a newly redesigned junction at Bilton are highlighted as particular issues. The independent traffic report points out that road widths should be at least 6.8m for large articulated lorries to regularly pass safely. Members of the community took road measurements themselves and revealed the route is often less than 5m, and in some places less than 3 metres wide.4
Fossil Free East Yorkshire say:
It is quite clear from the frightening increase in news reports detailing the climate catastrophe that we need to stop burning fossil fuels for our very survival – and stop drilling for more. The head of the UN says so, the International Energy Agency says so, and UK government policy says so.
And yet here is a Planning Application for major new oil drilling right here in East Yorkshire.
Now this report, by independent planning consultants, exposes just how flawed and incomplete this Planning Application is, especially when it comes to the huge increase in traffic, and spells out exactly how and why it should be refused.
We hope East Riding Planning Committee will pay due attention and refuse the Planning Application.”
The comprehensive report was produced by KVA Planning Consultancy, including a traffic report, for Fossil Free East Yorkshire, and has been submitted to East Riding of Yorkshire Council as our Objection. We sincerely thank everyone who contributed to the cost of these expert reports.
Planning Application 21/02464/STFUL
To construct an extension to the existing West Newton A (WNA) wellsite, test, appraise and produce from the two existing wells and drill, test, appraise and produce from up to six (6) new wells followed by decommissioning and wellsite restoration. – Rathlin Energy Ltd
West Newton Exploration Well Site, Fosham Road, High Fosham, East Riding Of Yorkshire HU11 5DA
Major onshore oil production application published – DrillOrDrop, July 2021
“2.1 … FFEY strongly objects to the proposals for the following predominant reasons:
- The proposed routes (blue and orange) are neither safe nor suitable for the significant levels of large vehicular movements over the lifetime of the operation.
- There is a significant lack of information and investigation presented via the applicant’s transport assessment to meet the requirements of the NPPF (e.g., a lack of consideration of: vulnerable road users, public rights of way, inadequate swept path analysis, insufficient road widths, convoying or road closures, lack of holding areas for large vehicles, and lack of consideration of various settlements and attractions on routes).
- The detrimental impact on the landscape including from cumulative major developments (including inadequacies with the information presented).
- The detrimental impact from noise associated with the proposal; and
- The proposed extraction of a fossil fuel is wholly inappropriate and contrary to the Government’s aim of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
2.2 Thus, it is considered that the proposals are not in conformity with relevant planning policies at both the national and local level.”
“5.4 Insufficiencies and inadequacies in the technical appendices to the PDAS [Planning and Design and Access Statement] inform, to a large extent, the areas of objection”
“5.5 Further, it is considered that the proposal is wholly contrary to the Government’s aim to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and approving this application for planning permission would be fundamentally flawed”
“4.23 Mr Kells argues that the both the orange and blue routes fail the NPPF tests of being safe and suitable over the prolonged lifespan of the operation (25years) nor can the impact of highway safety be ruled out, for multiple reasons, including:
- Road width (being less than 3m wide on Pipers Lane and under 5m on various stretches of the route (the HMR provides photographic evidence of this) which would not allow two HGVs or OGV2s to pass safely (especially when considering the impact of wing mirrors);”
“For HS2 a design approach statement … suggests: ‘Rural road widths for diversions should generally match the existing, subject to a minimum of 5.5 metres (the minimum for two cars to pass in safety at low speed). This minimum width shall be increased to 6.0 metres for lengths with occasional use by buses or heavy goods vehicles and 6.8 metres for roads where buses or heavy goods vehicles are likely to pass each other on a regular basis.” – Traffic Report (Appendix 1) 4. a.