Fresh outcry over rural oil well plan

Fresh outcry over rural oil well plan

Oil well in Puddletown

A planning application to drill for oil near Puddletown has sparked a national outcry.

Campaigners from Friends of the Earth, Extinction Rebellion and Save our Shores have been urging people to sign a petition objecting to the plan for an oil well near Puddletown.

The plan, (WD/D/19/002866) is for the ‘drilling of a single vertical well for the appraisal and production of oil, together with the establishment and construction of the site compound next to Athelhampton Road’.

The plan was submitted to Dorset Council by South Western Energy Ltd in 2019 however, the planning authority requested additional information from the applicants before the plan could be considered.

If drilling from the pump jack unit on farmland near Athelhampton House proves viable, South Western Energy hope to continue for 25 years.

It is thought if the application is approved, up to eight HGVs will take the oil to Fawley Refinery, 50 miles away each day.

Campaigners say the scheme is incompatible with Dorset Council policies and the need to address the ‘climate emergency’, which the council recognised in May 2019.

Karen Wimhurst who launched the 38degrees petition to ‘Stop New Oil Drilling in Puddletown’ said: “Many councils and our parliament now recognise a state of climate emergency. But invariably business carries on as usual and CO2 is continuing to rise at a terrifying rate. This application, validated by Dorset Council, for drilling a new oil well is a prime example of this inability to grasp the reality we find ourselves in and to act accordingly.

“We demand that you stand by your stated obligation, show leadership and act locally to prevent the worst ravages of catastrophic climate change.”

In January 2020, the Puddletown Area Parish Council objected to the application, stating it would ‘seriously impede’ the use of the bridleway and ‘damage the environment and biodiversity’ and, should the oil well be a success, would ‘contribute to climate change’.

Parish clerk Anna Bendall said: “The parish council has been re-consulted as additional information from the applicant has now been received by the planning authority.”

The parish council was set to meet on February 8 to agree a response. The expiry date for comments to Dorset Council was on February 9.

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