Letter: Defer UKOG oil exploration planning application

Alison Goodchild believes the UKOG planning application for oil exploration has been submitted under cover of a global pandemic and calls for it to be deferred

arreton drilling ukog

OnTheWight always welcomes a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below.

This from Alison Goodchild, Sandown. Ed


I am asking that the proposed planning application for the site of two UKOG oil wells and drilling in Arreton be put on hold.

My reasons are as follows:

There are over 700 comments on the IOW Council Website. Many are objecting to this planning application. There are some 60 comments in support of the application.

Having been up all night reading these comments in support, it is in my view obvious that most are from either employees of UKOG or their shareholders.

The same statements appear time after time, with the same wording as though they have been ‘cut and pasted’ into the comment box. It is my opinion that these comments should, therefore be discounted.

Having also read Jonathan Bacon’s comments on the Island’s recently gained UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status, it is apparent that due to the Covid-19 pandemic across the world, that all the relevant paperwork has not yet been put in place to make this 100% official.

Planning offices closed
This planning application has also been submitted whilst the IOW Council planning offices are closed. (Again, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.) This means that there has been no public consultation whatsoever by the company to Island residents.

It also means that there is at present, no way for the public or indeed any Town or Parish Councils, to view the plans in detail as they would normally have been able to, thus giving the applicants a very unfair advantage.

Judicial review
I understand there is also a judicial review to be held against Surrey County Council for its decision to approve the planning application submitted by the same company.

The last date for comments on this planning application, which will severely impact the Isle of Wight, is today (Friday 24th July).

I would expect there would be hundreds more objections to this planning application if we were not in a Covid-19 pandemic and people were not just coming out of four months of lockdown.

Keep comments open
With all that is stated in my letter, I feel there are more than sufficient reasons to keep the comments open on the IOW Council’s planning portal.

This planning application should also be deferred until people have the proper, legal access to the planning documents that they are entitled to see before any planning application is granted permission.

Submitted under cover of a global pandemic
In my view it has been submitted under cover of a global pandemic and it is just not right!

Friday, 24th July, 2020 9:05am

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2nOW

Filed under: Arreton, Isle of Wight Council, Letter to the Editor, Planning

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7 Comments on "Letter: Defer UKOG oil exploration planning application"

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alisonjane
The ‘new lockdown’ restrictions given to local planning offices would appear to be woefully inadequate in this instance. The sheer number of objections shows that, those who are aware of the plan to build 2 oil wells and drill on the Island have voiced their concerns. There must be many, many more who do not realise this planning application has even been submitted. Do Local Authorities not… Read more »
drwhen

I applaud Allison’s letter but it also shows how flawed the council portal is. As I view it it is showing 756 comments but the document total is 1649. The planning documents total 50 or so, leaving comments of almost 1600 and growing. Of these 1400 plus are objections. 80 plus have been duplicated it appears automatically by the system.

Tamara
Alison is right. During lockdown, people have not been able to go to work and talk to their colleagues, go to their clubs, pubs, societies, churches or other social gatherings to meet friends. So they’ve been unable to spread the word that this consultation was taking place. There is a strong suspicion that the timing of the application submission just before lockdown was deliberate for this reason.… Read more »
septua

Whilst I agree with the plea in this letter, Alison is incorrect in saying that there has been no public consultation. Some weeks ago UKOG held an open day at Newclose Cricket Ground to enable the public to see information about their proposals. I still have a copy of their brochure from that day. However, I would vote against the application.

alisonjane
Septua, my apologies then. The meeting must have been before 26th March. The U.K. was in lockdown on that date, which is 4 months ago. Were there many in attendance? Where was it advertised? Were there any members of the IOW Council present? I, myself knew nothing of this meeting. I would have attended. The planning application was made public on 21st April, 3 weeks into the… Read more »
Tamara
The public meeting was an exhibition held at Newclose Cricket Ground last December, after the general election and just before Christmas, the small ad hidden in the back of the County Press – a classic example of how to bury bad news. The IWC had their own meetings with UKOG. Some of those who attended complained of aggressive tactics by the oilmen towards those who questioned their… Read more »
Steve Goodman

That would be the .open day (some months ago) that soon stopped being open when Island journalist David George was told to leave because he was doing his job…

(David continued doing his job outside.)