Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited applies to Environment Agency for permission to put exploratory oil and gas drill site at West Newton into commercial production.
The company has operated at West Newton in East Yorkshire since 2013 under the conditions of an environmental permit. It now seeks to vary that permit to allow for the creation of six additional wells, the relocation of oil storage facilities and the installation of gas engines that will produce electricity for export to the National Grid.
The Environment Agency is now seeking views from the local community and interested groups on the application. The consultation will run from Thursday 25 November 2021 to Friday 7 January 2022 and will include a virtual drop-in session. This drop-in session will provide further details about the application, the Environment Agency’s decision process and provide opportunities for the public to ask questions about the company’s plans.
Rathlin Energy has previously applied to East Riding of Yorkshire Council for planning consent in relation to the proposed production, which was refused. The Environment Agency is obliged to determine the environmental permit variation application separately to Planning, but the company is required to have both planning and environmental permitting approved before operations can commence.
Mining and extractive industries must have an environmental permit to operate. Issued by the Environment Agency, environmental permits detail the conditions that an operator is required to meet to ensure its activities minimise the risk of harm to people and the environment.
Kathryn Richardson, Area Environment Manager at the Environment Agency, said:
We know the community has strong feelings about the potential for oil and gas drilling in West Newton, so we are seeking their views as part of our consultation and offering them an opportunity to learn more at a virtual drop-in session.
In assessing this permit variation, we will undertake a detailed and rigorous assessment of Rathlin Energy’s application. We will ensure the operating techniques and control measures at the proposed facility will comply with the legal requirements of the Environment Permitting Regulations. We do not permit activities that pose an unacceptable risk.
Our regulatory controls for the onshore oil and gas industry are in place to protect people and the environment. We may only refuse a permit application if it does not meet one or more of the legal requirements under environmental legislation, including if it will have an unacceptable impact on the environment or harm human health. If all the requirements are met, we are legally obliged to issue a permit.
We welcome comments from the public and interested groups on local environmental factors that people feel are important.”