Lincolnshire volunteer group fundraises to save Lincolnshire Wolds from oil drilling

Sat, 01/27/2024 - 12:00

Local campaign group, SOS Biscathorpe, is hoping to stop new oil drilling going ahead in the heart of Lincolnshire, at Biscathorpe.

Following vehement local opposition, on the first day of COP26 two years ago, Lincolnshire County Council refused to give permission for the development because of the adverse impact it would have on the protected landscape of the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. However, following an Appeal to the Secretary of State by Egdon Resources, the council’s decision was overruled, thus granting permission for further exploration and 15 years of oil extraction at the site.

Egdon’s oil exploration site is situated close to the River Bain chalk stream, and surface water from the site will be released into the stream. According to the Wildlife Trusts, “Only 200 chalk rivers are known globally, 85% of which are found in the UK in southern and eastern England.”

These globally rare habitats support some of the UK’s most vulnerable plants and iconic native animals, such as otters, kingfishers and more.

In the appeal decision, Paul Thompson, the Inspector for the Secretary of State, acknowledged “that it would result in an adverse effect on the landscape and scenic beauty of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”. He further acknowledged that it contravened local planning policies and would result in a small quantity of oil that could be exported. Despite this he considered it “in the public interest” for “national energy security”.

Amanda Suddaby, a member of the group said “The predicted output of the site over its entire lifetime is less than 3 million barrels of oil which would be sufficient to supply the UK for barely 2 days. Even if you discount the overwhelming climate change arguments against new oil drilling, such a small amount of oil does not justify 15 years of harm to this beautiful, supposedly protected, area.”

On the opening day of COP28, SOS Biscathorpe announced that they would be challenging the decision. The group are now raising funds to mount a legal challenge against the government, to apply for a Statutory Review. It said: “We think the planning inspector’s decision is wrong. Our only course of action now is to bring a legal challenge against the decision.”

“If successful, this could be an important landmark case on the correct interpretation of planning law and policy relevant to all fossil fuel developments.”

The group says it has received support from across the count and beyond. Mathilda Dennis (local resident), said: “SOS Biscathorpe is fighting on behalf of every community up and down the UK that wants to protect its natural environment for the long term health of the planet and its people.”

The group need to raise an initial £20,000 to contribute towards costs. The case will be brought by Mathilda Dennis, on behalf of SOS Biscathorpe. She is represented by Estelle Dehon KC and Dr Lois Lane, of Cornerstone Barristers, and Ricardo Gama and Julia Eriksen, of Leigh Day Solicitors. The group have almost raised £10,000 as yet.

To contribute to the fundraiser, visit the following link: