Transition Town Louth


Fracking? or Keep Fossil Fuel Fossilised.

"I do not envisage any circumstances where Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust would permit fracking or any other fossil fuel extraction on land under its control." Paul Learoyd, Chief Executive, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. August 2013.

Lincolnshire has significant quantities of oil, gas and coal under its land and offshore. If we chose to burn it catastrophic global warming comes sooner. Transition Town Louth is dedicated to finding ways to live well with less energy and to abandon the use of fossil fuels to help safeguard our future generation.

To find out where Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDL) have been granted go to this map

On Monday 13th January 2014, our Prime Minister, David Cameron, took a trip to the area with a potential for gas production by fracking in north-western Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire, an area reffred to geologically as the Gainsborough Trough. Mr Cameron appears keen to promote the onshore gas industry. It is worth bearing in mind who is who.

Keep up to date with what's going on:

Frack Free Lincolnshire Facebook Group
Frack Free South Yorkshire
Frack Free South Yorkshire Facebook Group
Fracking Hell (UK) Facebook Group
Frack-off East Midlands

For a technical description of the Gainsborough Trough generally and PEDL 139 and 140 license areas, in which the French oil company Total has expressed an interest, download this document from Egdon Resources.

An important statement from Kevin Anderson

Press releases from Egdon Resources

13 January 2014 - Farm-out Agreement with Total E&P UK Limited - PEDL139 & PEDL140

Egdon Resources plc (AIM:EDR) and its partners (GP Energy Limited, Island Gas Limited (“IGas”) and eCORP Oil & Gas UK Limited (“eCORP”)) are pleased to announce the signature of a Farm-out Agreement (“The Agreement”) with Total E&P UK Limited (“Total”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Total SA, in respect of UK Onshore Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences PEDL139 and PEDL140 (“The Licences”) located in the Gainsborough Trough geological basin in Lincolnshire, whereby Egdon will hold a 14.5% interest in The Licences. The Licences cover an area of 240 square kilometres and are immediately adjacent to licences PEDL209 and PL161/162 where Egdon has further interests.

Under the terms of The Agreement Total will earn a 40% interest in The Licences through the payment of $1.6 million (ca. £1 million) in back costs and the funding of a fully carried work programme of up to $46.5 million (ca. £29 million). Total has the option to exit after an initial period of this work programme corresponding to a minimum commitment of $19.5 million (ca. £12 million). The programme will include the acquisition of 3D seismic, the drilling and testing of a vertical exploration well and associated well pad construction, and, conditional on the success of the testing of the exploration well, the drilling and flow testing of a second appraisal horizontal well.

The transaction is subject to approval by the Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Island Gas Limited, a subsidiary of IGas Energy plc, will be appointed as the operator of The Licences on completion and Total will become operator at the end of the carried work programme.

The Agreement supersedes the previous farm-out agreement with eCORP and on completion the interests in The Licences will be:

Total E&P UK Limited 40.0%
GP Energy Limited (a subsidiary of Dart Energy Europe Limited) 17.5%
Egdon Resources U.K. Limited 14.5%
Island Gas Limited 14.5%
eCORP Oil & Gas UK Limited 13.5%

Commenting on The Agreement, Mark Abbott, Managing Director of Egdon, said:

“This announcement signals the entry of the first major into UK shale gas exploration and is a further endorsement of the potential that exists following the earlier commitments by Centrica and GDF Suez. The farm-out arrangements provide for a substantial carried work programme designed to verify the significant shale gas potential previously identified in The Licences by Egdon and its partners. Total will bring extensive resources and experience in unconventional hydrocarbon plays to the PEDL139/140 Joint Venture and we look forward to working with them and the new operator, IGas.”

Commenting on the acquisition, Patrice de Viviès, Total’s Senior Vice President for Northern Europe, said:

“This opportunity is an important milestone for Total E&P UK and opens a new chapter for the subsidiary in a promising onshore play. The Group is already involved in shale gas projects in the US, Argentina, China, Australia and in Europe in Poland and in Denmark, and will leverage its expertise in this new venture in the UK.”

5 December 2013 - Exploration Option and Farm-in Agreement, PL161 and PL162

Egdon Resources plc (AIM:EDR) is pleased to announce that it has signed an Exploration Option and Farm-in Agreement (“The Agreement”) with Scottish Power Generation Limited (“SPG”) in respect of UK Onshore Production Licences PL161 (Block SE/60b) and PL162 (Blocks SE/70a and SE/80b) located in Lincolnshire.

The Agreement defines an “Exploration Area” which excludes those parts of PL161 and PL162 which relate to the Hatfield Moor and Hatfield West gas storage facilities, both operated by SPG.

Under the terms of The Agreement SPG has granted Egdon an Option Period of twelve months by the end of which Egdon is required to either advise SPG of its intention to commit to the drilling of an exploration well in the Exploration Area (the “Option Well”) or else terminate The Agreement.

During the Option Period, Egdon will undertake, at its own cost and risk, a full evaluation of the hydrocarbon potential of the Exploration Area to include reprocessing all relevant existing 2D seismic data, evaluation of all available well data, and generation of a full review and report on the hydrocarbon prospectivity of the Exploration Area.

In the event that Egdon commits to drill the Option Well, Egdon will meet the full cost of the drilling and evaluation of the well to the point of either abandonment or suspension in the case of a discovery. Egdon will earn a 50% working interest in the Exploration Area through the drilling of the Option Well and will become Operator of the Exploration Area.

PL161 and PL162 are located in the East Midlands Petroleum Province, on the northern margin of the Gainsborough Trough geological basin. The licences contain the Hatfield Moor and Hatfield West gas fields which produced gas from sandstones of Carboniferous age from the 1980s. The two fields are now depleted and are operating as gas storage facilities. In addition, five exploration wells were drilled in the Exploration Area between 1973 and 1978. Egdon currently holds interests in licences to the south (PEDL139 and PEDL140) and south east (PEDL209) of the Exploration Area. The Company’s preliminary regional evaluation has indicated the potential for there to be both undiscovered conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources within the Exploration Area.

Good News - Biscathorpe Planning Application Withdrawn.

14th November 2013 Lincolnshire Planning has announced that the application has been withdrwan. There has, as yet, been no announcement from Egdon as to reasons or future plans but we can be sure that the company strategy of expanding thier oil drilling operations and then fracking for shale gas is still in place. See their Annual Report.

Don't imagine Egdon are going away. This is what Philip Stephens, the Chairman, writes in his Annual Review, published earlier this week:

The day we walked to Biscathorpe

Sunday 13th October 2013

And nome handy notes

Update 17th October 2013: Highways objects to plannoing application

Requests that the local planning authority refuses the application for the reasons set out below.

HREF01 Carriageway - Inadequate Width
The carriageways of Biscathorpe Road & Donnington Road are inadequate in terms of width and general physical layout to accommodate this number of Heavy Goods Vehicles to serve the proposed development. There is generally insufficient width to permit vehicles to pass one another. The additional traffic likely to be generated by the proposed development will result in an increased incidence of manoeuvring of passing vehicles which will lead to vehicles overrunning the edge of the narrow carriageway and adjoining verge thereby causing an unacceptable level of damage to both and possible structural failure of the carriageway edges. The structure of the existing carriageway is also unlikely to be of such construction to facilitate the passage of this amount of HGV's without causing structural failure to the carriageway as a whole. Such conditions are contrary to the interests of safety and free passage of vehicles and pedestrians within the public highway.

HREF09 Interference with Traffic Movements on Classified Highway
The application site is located on a section of County Class 1 & 2 roads, the A157 and B1225 , which at these location is subject only to the national 60mph restriction for this class of road and where traffic is in fast and free-flowing conditions travelling to and from Lincoln and beyond. The intensification of vehicular movements on the Class 1 & 2 roads to an extent contrary to the safety and convenience of such traffic. Visibility from the A157 is also severely restricted in the location of Biscathorpe Road both on access and egress from the existing junction due to location on the brow of a hill.

A Little Geology

The existing producing oil and gas fields of Lincolnshire are mostly from Carboniferous reservoir rocks, sandstones and limestones, that have accumulated their hydrocarbons from source rocks below, mostly the Lower Carboniferous Bowland-Hodder formation. This is a series of shales and mudstones that may be as much as 3000 metres thick in areas known as the Gainsborough Trough and Humber Basin. Relatively small quantities of oil and gas have been produced over many years in a conventional way and further such developments are planned.

In July 2013 planning permission was granted for an exploratory well to be drilled near Laughton and a similar proposal for Biscathorpe has recently been submitted to the Lincolnshire County Council planners. In both of these cases the planning application seeks to gain permission for conventional oil production from the sandstone or limestone reservoirs of the Carboniferous with no need for fracking. Fracking the gas-rich shales of the Lower carboniferous is more likely further west towards Gainsborough.

The North Somercotes Prospect will probably not produce conventional oil but will involve fracking to obtain the gas. Immediately off-shore, from Tetney to Anderby Creek, there is thought to be a considerable resource of coal that could be exploited by Underground Coal Gassification (UGC).

There will doubtless be many who object to the development and production of these Lincolnshire fossil fuel resources on grounds of local environmental harm, but the over-riding issue is that of increased greenhouse gas release that any such development must inevitably produce. The global warming potential of such development is unacceptable and Transition Town Louth therefore opposes all further exploitation of these resources.

The recently published Bowland Gas Shale Report is available for download here.

The report "Unconventional Hydrocarbon Resources of Britain's Onshore Basins - Shale Gas" can be downloaded from here.

A series of short articles by Biff Vernon on the subject appears on his Blog.

Frack Free Lincolnshire on facebook

Frack Off

To object to the Biscathorpe proposal fill in the Online Representation Comments Form.

The Biscathorpe Prospect

Subject to a planning application by Egdon Resources Plc to drill for oil

View across site of medieval village of Biscathorpe
Photo by Tim Heaton via Geograph, reuse subject to this creative commons usage licence.

More pictures from Biscathorpe

Further information from:

Union Jack Oil
Egdon Resources
Egdon Resources comment on shale gas
Louth Leader
Market Rasen Mail

Viking Way bridge over the River Bain

Copyright Tim Heaton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

To object to the Biscathorpe proposal fill in the Online Representation Comments Form.

Biscathorpe application published

Download the plans here.

The proposed drill site is just east of the fords, in full view of the church and the lorries will have to travel across the fords and up the little lane past the church. It is hard to believe that anybody could think of putting an oil well here, at what must be one of the most pictureque beauty spots in the county.

This is the ford the hundreds of lorries will cross and the lane they will have to drive up.

And this is the picture that Egdon Resources themselves use as a "Typical example of exploratory well site". It's what they want to place at Lincolnshire's most unspoilt beauty spot.

This is the second ford. The proposed well site is behind the hedge on the horizon above the bridge.

Picture sources.

The well site is in the brown ploughed field behind the hedge. The fords are past the clump of trees down the road.

All site traffic, the hundreds of heavy goods vehicles bringing materials for site preparation, lorries bringing the drill rig and drilling equipment and buildings and, once in production, the articulated tankers taking out produced oil and polluted waste water for many years to come, will have to turn at this junction between Biscathorpe Road and Gayton Lane, pass through this gate that prevents the cattle from straying and down the single-track lane before reaching the fords. There is a second, similar, gate that has to be passed to the east of the fords.

Biscathorpe Prospect

Lincolnshire County Council have now published the Planning Application from Egdon Resources Plc., for an oil well at Biscathorpe.

There are local environmental issues related to on-shore oil and gas exploitation, but none of these will end life on Earth. The really important thing is that any further extraction and burning of fossil fuels will add to global warming and that does risk ending life on the planet. It also makes it more difficult for the UK to meet its legally-binding carbon emission reduction targets. However, having thus thought globally, we must now act locally and consider the consequences of the Biscathorpe proposal for the immediate environment.

Let's look at the reasons why Egdon's planned well site is just about the worst possible location.

Firstly, this whole area is really, really beautiful. It's right in the middle of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so maybe that's to be expected, but this exact spot defies the superlatives. Two streams, headwaters of the River Bain, come together in a wide area of open grassland. The spot must have been valued long ago as it is overlooked by low hills with Bronze and Iron Age remains and covered with the tell-tale bumps and lumps of an LMV, a Lost Medieval Village. The only buildings in view are the little church of St. Helen's, which is a Grade II* listed builing and the Church Cottage. This was unoccupied for several years but has just been refurbished and is available to rent as luxury holiday accommodation.

And here I shall quote from Egdon's Planning Statement "The closest residential property is Church Cottage which lies approximately 500m to the west of the Site, but is currently abandoned." This is not true. Although the building has previously stood empty it now affords luxury holiday accommodation. It is unlikely that holiday makers are hoping for a view of an oil well.

The land is part of Biscathorpe House Farm, described by Natural England thus: Biscathorpe House Farm is situated in one of the most attractive parts of the Lincolnshire Wolds. It is farmed by the Wallis brothers who are keen advocates of farming practices that make room for wildlife. Nestled into a shallow valley dissected by bubbling chalk streams feeding the River Bain, the farm is an excellent example of how farming, shooting and conservation can go hand in hand.

It seems, however, from Egdon's Planning Statement that they wish to convey to those County Councillors on the Planning Committee who are unfamiliar with the site, the idea that this is a rather forsaken corner, perhaps even part of the 'desolate north-east'. For example, "Approximately 500m to the north west of the Application Site the more open areas of countryside are contrasted by the site of a disused sand and gravel quarry, known as Top Pit. This quarry comprises a number of industrial units, ponds and significant areas of landscaping including woodland." The 'number of industrial units' is actually the old weighbridge office of the quarry and the outbuildings of the residential dwelling. The 'landscaping' is just what got left after the quarry was abandoned many years ago. It is now all overgrown and forms a significant nature reserve with great biodiversity, a product of low-nutrient soils and little or no human interference. However, Top Pit is over the hill and beyond the wood, out of sight and not immediately relevant to the proposal so it is surprising that Egdon has sought to introduce the matter.

Egdon helpfully tell us that "The sparsely populated nature of the landscape determines that the number of occupants of residential properties forming highly sensitive visual receptors would be limited." That nobody lives here is rather the point of this beauty spot! The area of open grassland around the fords, between the church and the proposed well site, is known as Biscathorpe Park. Usually a quiet place for walkers' picnics, each year in July it is the location for the Duck Race, when crowds from far and wide turn out for fun, games and a bar-b-que to raise funds for Donnington-on-Bain Village Hall. The event would not sit well next to an oil well.

On archaeology Egdon admit that: "A desk based archaeological assessment has been undertaken", i.e. they have not made an archaeological site visit. At least they noticed that the site is adjacent to a lost medieval village and therefore, "given the nature of the development the proposals do have the potential to have an impact on archaeological remains, though this is largely confined to top soil and sub soil stripping of the area". Clearly they realise they might destroy the archaeology and they point out that "The remains of the medieval village of Biscathorpe lie approximately 300m to the north west. However, these remains are not designated as a Scheduled Monument." The lack of such designation cannot be taken as a lack of archaeology.

To prepare the site Egdon say they will be bringing over 200 lorryloads of material to construct the 'platform', the area of hard surface to work from, and the roadway from the public road to the field. There will then be a large number of lorries bringing the buildings and equipment associated with the drilling work. The lorries have to come down Gayton Lane and across two fords that are unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles. The proposal to widen the road junction with Biscathorpe Road and provide two passing places on the single track Gayton Lane is insufficient to meet the proposed traffic. The character of the lane will be quite altered.

Egdon point out that the construction traffic will only be temporary but when oil production commences there will be a regular traffic of oil tankers transporting the produced oil for many years to come. Other tankers will be removing produced water. No pipelines will be involved in such an oil well - it will be tankers by road till the oil runs out.

The standard practice to reduce the risk of local pollution involves covering the site with a thick polythene sheet with hardcore put on top. Surrounding the site a ditch, again polythene lined, is created This intercepts any rainfall runoff that has become contaminated with spilled oil and other chemicals. The ditch is periodically pumped out into road tankers and taken away to a 'licensed disposal site'. Major accidents in the oil industry are extremely rare but any risk analysis has to take into account not only the likelihood of an accident but also the consequences. If there were to be a major incident such as an explosion, then the small ditch and bund walls would be of little use. Pollution could rapidly enter the stream that runs alongside the site, and on into the Bain, causing an ecological catastrophe in almost the whole length of the River Bain and the Lower River Witham within hours. It would be hard to pick a more vulnerable site with respect to potential river pollution.

The proposal includes a gas flare. There is often a certain amount of gas associated with this sort of oil production and Egdon do not, apparently, plan to capture and use it. It will just be wasted, burnt off, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions but providing no benefit. Such blatant wastefulness should not be allowed despite the company’s protestation that it would not be ‘economic’ to use the relatively small amount of gas. The local impact will be the 24 hour a day gas flare, polluting the night with it’s glare in this, one of the darkest parts of Lincolnshire.

Egdon make much of the 'temporary' nature of the proposal, as if they do not actually intend to find any oil and spend the next couple of decades producing it. If it turns out to be a dry well, they will restore all to its pristine glory and be gone in a few months. This is disingenuous as no oil company is going to do work like this unless they have a case that has convinced their investors that oil will be found and a return on capital will ensue. It would be wrong for Lincolnshire County Council to grant planning permission for this 'temporary' exploration well if the intention would be to refuse a subsequent application for a production well and its ancillary facilities. What is being decided is the future of Biscathorpe for many years, perhaps decades.

The current proposal at Biscathorpe concerns conventional oil in permeable reservoir rocks and that is the limit of the current planning application. But what Egdon are telling their investors is that there are great thicknesses of gas-rich shale source rock of the Bowland Formation underlying the land to the west between Lincoln and Gainsborough in the so- called 'Gainsborough Trough'. Egdon's Petroleum Exploration and Development Licenses cover both conventional oil and the gas below Biscathorpe and the the much greater resources of hydrocarbon in the gas-rich shales. Similar gas-rich shales occur in the 'Humber Basin' which is covered in part by Egdon's license to explore and develop the area around North Somercotes. They will naturally take the low hanging fruit of easily obtained conventional oil but their clear intention is to move on to the gas sometime later and that will involve fracking. It is this prospect that makes Egdon Resources Plc. financially attractive to potential investors.

The parallels between Biscathorpe and Balcombe are all too obvious. If the current planning application for an exploratory well is approved one must expect concerns to be raised over fracking to the west of the county, with its attendant threats to pollution and small earthquakes triggering more serious movement on the fault that caused the Market Rasen earthquake.

Key Points:

These press releases from Egdon reveal their interest in exploiting the gas-rich shales of the Gainsborough Trough that underly land further west.

8 July 2013 Comment on Recent Shale Gas Development

15 January 2013 Shale Gas Resources Assessment

A summary of a report for Egdon Resources shale gas assets is available to download here.

To object to the Biscathorpe proposal fill in the Online Representation Comments Form.

Report on the Public Meeting held at Donington-on-Bain Village Hall on Friday 27th September 2013

Last Friday about 90 people crowded into Donington-on-Bain Village Hall. A meeting had been called by Transition Town Louth to discuss a planning application from Egdon Resources to drill for oil at Biscathorpe. This company holds licenses to develop the gas-shales by fracking between Lincoln and Gainsborough and in the North Somercotes area but their latest plan is to drill for oil in a field neighbouring the well known beauty spot of Biscathorpe, with its two fords crossing the River Bain, the lost medieval village and little church.

The meeting was chaired by Donnington resident, Martin Scutt, who outlined the plans and voiced the concerns of many in the village about the risk of pollution of the Bain, lorry traffic, noise, lighting and an end to the beauty and tranquillity of their neighbourhood. Parish councillor Jackie Scutt complained that Egdon had made no attempt to inform Donington-on-Bain council of developments that would have a direct impact on the parish and this view was supported by district councillor Daniel Simpson who promised to take up the issue of the lack of consultation with the County Council. County Councillor Hugo Marfleet urged residents to send their objections to the County Council so that the planning committee would have a clear understanding of the strength of local opposition to the plan. Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders spoke of her concern for the River Bain, one of the world’s rare chalk streams, with its invaluable but fragile ecology.

Biff Vernon, a local environmental campaigner, outlined the several local issues concerning oil production from this site, but also raised the wider concern of global warming. This was the same day that the IPCC reported that there was already enough oil and gas discovered to result in catastrophic global warming if it were all to be burnt, without searching for more oil in Lincolnshire. Another village resident, who declared he worked in the oil industry, pointed out that the plans were all about the money. Such a small oilfield would have a negligible effect on the country’s energy supply but bring a great deal of cash to the oil company.

Egdon Resources had been invited to attend the meeting but had declined, sending instead a pack of glossy brochures. The Managing Director, Mark Abbott, personally holds about three quarters of a million pounds worth of the company’s shares and would doubtless do well on a share price rise following the discovery of oil.

Two women, visiting from America urged us not to allow what has happened in their home areas of Texas and Pennsylvania to happen to Lincolnshire. They described how farmers had initially supported the oil and gas companies but now bitterly regretted their actions, their farmland destroyed by pollution. A resident of South Cockerington warned of their terrible experience with the gas flaring at the Keddington oil well near their home. Egdon plan to flare off the gas that comes with the oil at Biscathorpe rather than collect it. A couple of women came from Mablethorpe where their concern is the plans for underground coal gasification along the coast from Tetney to Mablethorpe.

There seemed to be only three people at the meeting who were broadly supportive of the oil well proposal, one of them, a farmer, declaring that he needed to be sure the electricity would come on in the morning. Some farmers, of course, have embraced the development of renewable energy by installing large arrays of solar panels on their farm building roofs or even on the ground, earning a good return from selling clean electricity.

On Sunday 13th October a walk to Biscathorpe is planned. Meeting at 12 noon on the green, Neve’s Garden, in Donington-on-Bain, folk will stroll along the Viking Way to Biscathorpe and have a picnic. Kat Boettge, the Green Party East Midlands candidate for the European Parliament, will be coming on the walk, the Green Party being the only political party to be opposed to the development of more oil and gas.

Here are some Representations that have been sent to Lincolnshire County Council. They are also available at the LCC Planning website.

This is right next to the Viking Way and the Lindsey Trail in an Area of Outstancing Natural Beauty. The area is not suited to this type of development and the access road is not suitable for HGVs, it would also potentially be a hazard for users of the Lindsey Trail and public rights of way which are in close proximity. It would ruin the quiet enjoyment of one of the most beautiful areas of the Lincolnshire Wolds for cyclists, walkers, horse riders, visitors and local residents.C.H.

The really important thing is that any further extraction and burning of fossil fuels will add to global warming and that does risk ending life on the planet. Firstly, this whole area is really, really beautiful. It's right in the middle of an Area of Outstanding Beauty so maybe that's to be expected, but this exact spot defies the superlatives. Two streams, headwaters of the River Bain, come together in a wide area of open grassland. The spot must have been valued long ago as it is overlooked by low hills with Bronze and Iron Age remains and covered with the tell-tale bumps and lumps of an LMV, a Lost Medieval Village. The only buildings in view are the little church and the Church Cottage. This was unoccupied for several years but has just been refurbished and is available to rent as luxury holiday accommodation.N.H.

I object on the basis that fossil fuels need to stay in the ground in order to prevent runaway climate change. My understanding is that the amounts of gas and oil remaining in the earth under Lincolnshire are relatively small and hard to reach. This particular site has got to be one of the most scenically attractive and environmentally diverse places in the county. Served by narrow lanes, well suited to cycling but not to heavy vehicles, the industrialization of rural areas is a travesty.I.R.

I oppose the proposed fracking at Biscathorpe. It is in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The watercourses nearby are pristine quality and I understand that no environmental investigation or assessment has been done.A.S.B.

I am very concerned that this application will spoil an AONB, and potentially pollute the river Bain. The roads are not built for the heavy truck traffic that it will result in. Moreover, I'm concerned about the possibility of poisoning the surrounding food-producing area, should Egdon find the shale gas reserves they are looking for. If they do so then we will face the risk of groundwater contaminated by fracking chemicals and whatever is down at the depths they are drilling, such as methane. And if they don't find anything, what is the point of them being there at all? I believe this application should be considered as part of a larger plan to exploit shale gas, and not as the temporary well it purports to be. And in that case, I have considerable fears about the fracking activity it will lead to, which is known to cause earthquakes, and is associated with a high risk of contaminated water and air. At around 6 miles from Louth, this is too close to a residential area to be acceptable. It is also too close to the river Bain, which could be disastrous in the event of accidental pollution.R.J.

South Willingham Parish Council object to this application as the location is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in one of the most scenic areas of the Lincolnshire Wolds, the access is totally unsuited to heavy vehicles, the lane would be ruined if it was widened and would look totally out of place, the site is clearly visible from public rights of way and is right next to bridleways (including the Viking Way and the Lindsey Trail). There are also concerns that the river Bain runs past the site and the drilling could potentially affect this important chalk stream and its unique habitat. South Willingham Parish Council

It has not been conclusively proven that processes such as fracking are actually safe. Biscathorpe is an area of outstanding natural beauty and the roads are not suited to increased usage by HGVs etc.U

I would like to express my objection to planning permission being granted for fracking to be undertaken at Bescathorpe. This is a practice which is so far grossly untried and tested, and has given indication of severe disruption to the local community in the form of destabilising the Earth surface leading to earthquakes, and unrestrictedly releasing poisonous gases from below the surface, which once released are uncontainable and can do considerable damage to the population. Asthma has long been on the rise attributed to the increase in air pollution carried by prevailing winds, even to more remote parts. In preference to this manner of harvesting energy supplies from our Earth, I would encourage the government and local authorities to go deeper and further into developing sustainable resources from wind, sun and hydro sources. Other countries, such as Scotland and Germany are exemplary in this area and show we have a very long way to go before this means is exhausted. Please do give very serious consideration to this matter and deny this planning permission.S.S.

The applicatiaton is likely to ruin one of the most beautiful and peaceful locations in the AONB.P.C.

I am very concerned to hear about the proposal for fracking in Biscathorpe, Lincolnshire. We should be moving away from fossil fuels and embracing renewable energy. I do not feel enough is known about the consequences of fracking in the UK which is very different to the the USA. Lincolnshire is a large county with a lot of coast and in my view is ideal for wind turbines/farms.J.B.

On behalf of the East Lincolnshire Green Party, I write to object to application ref PL/0179/13(E)N59/13 for the following reasons:
- The site is within a statutory Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The proposed development will undermine the principle of conservation in the heart of one of the most beautiful parts of the Wolds.
- The development would be close to the site of a medieval village.
- Local roads are unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles and commercial traffic will spoil the character of the area and be in conflict with tourists using the Viking Way. An exceptionally attractive feature of the locality is the fords, which would be destroyed by these vehicles.
- The development would cause huge disturbance to wildlife, both during the development process and after the development is completed, by reason of noise, lighting, the use of flares and interference with the natural landscape.
- The application may be for temporary planning permission, but the impact would be adverse and permanent. The applicant's intention is to find commercial quantities of oil and/or gas for exploitation over future years.
- Allowing fossil fuel extraction would contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases and global warming.
- Finally, we are concerned with the possibility of accidents and pollution and their impact on the local environment and watercourses.
East Lincolnshire Green Party

I do not think a beautiful place and visitors attraction should be allowed to be ruined by gas oil and fracking companies. Fracking can devastate an area just look at Colorado in the States. The disaster they're trying to cover up. I understand we need fuel and things to use for energy but do we really have to destroy the landscape, wildlife habitat and general landscape for it. Why not build some solar panels or wind turbines in the fields. Lets look to the future and green energy instead of to the past and their destructive ways.L.J.

I am astounded that this site could even be considered by anyone with any sense at all. I'm so astonished by this that I'm lost for words...but here are a few. Allowing this application will lead to the production of further fossil fuels that can only exacerbate the problem of global warming caused by the emission of greenhouse gasses resulting from the burning of these fuels. The application is for a temporary well site but there is nothing temporary about the company's intention. They expect to find commercially producible quantities of oil and gas, with activity continuing for many years, probably decades. The application concerns conventional oil but the intention, as revealed in statements to shareholders and other investors, is to produce gas by fracking the underlying shale. Flaring of gas during the exploration, testing and oil production phases are a waste of resources and add to greenhouse gas emissions with no mitigating benefit. The site is a pristine location in the heart of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The access roads are entirely unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles, both during the construction phase and subsequent production phases. Traffic movements will disturb the tranquillity of the area and present a hazard to walkers on the long distance footpath, The Viking Way, which shares the same single track lane as will be used by heavy goods vehicles. The two fords, an essential and unique feature of this beauty-spot, are unsuitable for heavy goods vehicle traffic. The sole land-uses in the vicinity are tourism and agriculture under environmental stewardship. The gas flares and the site lighting will produce constant and considerable light pollution in an otherwise very dark area of the county. The surrounding land and possibly the site itself, likely contains a wealth of archaeology, largely as yet un-surveyed. The ecology in the vicinity is rich and varied, providing habitats for several species that are key to the local biodiversity. The risks associated with a major accident has a high consequence, jeopardizing the ecology of most of the River Bain and the Lower River Witham. Please please please do not allow this plan to go through. The material benefits will be for a very few for a very short period of time. It's short sighted and devastating in the short and long term for many. We are the caretakers for future generations. Shame on us if this is allowed to happen. Shame on us all.J.H.

Seriously object to fracking, the damage to the local area and risks of water contamination etc are too high to even consider it.E.H.

I object entirely and without reservation for plans to commence the process of fracking in Lincolnshire. Fracking is a high risk process that can lead to earthquakes and cause lasting environmental damage to water supplies and the atmosphere through the release of methane. It is an insane process that no responsible council should even be considering. Lincolnshire is a large and diverse agricultural county. The risks posed to animal, human and ecological life by fracking are too great. This should not go ahead.S.E.

I am opposed to fracking in his area - or anywhere for that matter.J.C.

I can assure you I am not alone in objecting to Fracking in North Lincolnshire and any plans to do so. If it goes ahead I know there are many of us prepared to rally troops, protest and disrupt it if necessary. Meetings are already happening in case. S.R.

To the ruin of such a beautiful area and the potential for future fracking on the site. Concerns, heavy traffic, pollution and the above mentioned.J.V.

I am opposed to fracking in his area - or anywhere for that matter.J.C.

There is no way money should come before the safety and the beauty of the area surrounding biscathorpe to people and wild life! I cant believe after all the problems fracking causes it would be even considered! not only does it enrage me but it worries me hugely! contaminated water, air pollution, earth tremors,health problems and thats not even including the environmental impact! This should NOT go ahead! Donington On Bain Pre-School

There have been many concerns with fracking as there are many issues with fracking. The areas around Donington-On-Bain are wonderful and untouched landscapes, home to many wild creatures. Putting a fracking well will disturb the local wildlife with the earthquakes, destroying their habitats and disturbing the creatures you don't destroy homes of with the earthquakes. As well as the problem of the earthquakes, due to fracking the ground may give way where the process has been done, this is dangerous to people living around the area and the wildlife around the area. There have been reports of health issues around fracking areas due to the unknown chemicals being pumped into the ground, some reports even stated that the workforce didn't even know the chemicals they were pumping into the ground, what they were or how dangerous they are. With many asthmatic people around our area this issue of fracking will make matters worse for them as well as making average people's health deteriorate over time, causing headaches, nausea and respiratory problems. As well as these health problems fracking comes with the additional noise problems, these noise problems will pollute the area and make the phrase "peace and quiet" non-existent, this making things harder for people to sleep, concentrate and yet again disturbing wildlife. Regards, a concerned villagerJ.B.

The developers will not doubt mitigate the risk of accidental oil spill contamination into the pristine River Bain, but the consequences of such action would be catastrophic on the river and its inhabitants. The nearby road system is totally unsuited to the steady stream of HGV vehicles that would be required to establish and operate this platform. We must reduce our consumption of fossil fuels without delay. This application demonstrates just how desperate our dangerous addiction to oil has become if we are prepared to sacrifice this tranquil place in exchange for an oil "fix". Please refuse this application.J.P.

This project is of little to no use to us as people. It WILL have negative impacts on both the local community and the environment. Evidence based research from all over the globe has shown how destructive to wildlife, environment, farming, tourism and health that these sites can be. Biscathorpe oil well is just another hook keeping us in the past. People do not want this anymore. Protect the surrounding area and its people, please do not allow these oil & gas companies in. C.D.

I am worried about the possibility of pollution to the land and water, plus animal welfare, not to mention the problems great big holes underneath our homes may cause! K.M.

I have grave concerns over this 'dash' for fuel. I feel we should be taking a stand against the big boys and making them 'come clean' on their proposals, allowing the council to make a valued judgement. In a democracy, we EXPECT our Councillors to fully consider all of the objections and concerns (at our expense) and not just 'Do as you are told'. C.I.

I wish to object to this proposal as I do not believe that this development is appropriate in one of the most attractive areas of the Lincolnshire Wolds. The Biscathorpe Fords area is a popular area for painting and photography and any development will have a detrimental effect on use, enjoyment and tourism. The proposal shall affect the enjoyment of walkers and riders as they pass through this area using the Public Rights of Way network. The Viking Way passes through the valley bottom and the development will be a clear blot on the landscape from this route (Public Footpath 144), Additionally, it will be very obvious from Public Bridleway 148 where the bridleway is above the site and views from it will be down onto the drilling site. Biscathorpe Fords and the parkland alongside the road is extensively used by the public for picnics and informal recreation in this beautiful and tranquil setting. The development of the proposed location will detract significantly from this enjoyment. I query whether it would be possible to undertake this work from the old disused tip where the development and equipment would be screened well from view and be hidden within the landscape? Lincolnshire County Council, Highways Depot, Hemingby Lane, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, LN9 5PN

All such drilling to take place in the councillors back yards M.P.

I strongly object to the plans for drilling in the Biscathorpe area. This is a tranquil area by the River Bain and on the route of the Viking Way long-distance footpath. The area is popular with visitors due to its unspoilt scenery with only a gated road passing nearby. This application is completely at odds with the nature of the area. G.M.

Biscathorpe lies at the very heart of the AONB,& is a very beautiful place.People for miles around know & love it.Louth Heritage Group objects to any alterations whatever to the landscape here,both now,as proposed,& for the future.We ask LCC to defend the AONB-even if only to maintain the countys tourist trade.Government pressure is putting our heritage at risk.We can only hope there is not a Conservative majority on the LCC Planning Committee!But if that is so,we ask them to put local interests first. Louth Heritage Group 81, Church St., Louth, LN11 9DE

I wish to raise my objection to the proposed planning consent on land in and surrounding Biscathorpe and the Bain valley in Lincolnshire in respect of drilling for fossil fuels and the future possibility of hydraulic fracturing of the shale (fracking). This will inevitably cause environmental issues locally , not least of which is the damage to an area of outstanding beauty within the county. Further, at a time when governments across the globe are being urged to reduce their carbon footprint and burning of fossil fuels in exchange for renewable energy sources, the support of such applications to extract fossil fuels thus supporting their continued use is risible. The argument that these activities will bring down energy costs has been proven to be false - even with the oil and gas industry. In addition, the protection of the Lincolnshire countryside and coast is paramount to a county in which the foremost industry in tourism. Therefore I would ask the council to dismiss the application and others similar to this and take a stand on this issue. P.I.

This development would destroy an outstandingly beautiful valley through which the Viking Way long distance footpath travels. The River Bain would be likely to suffer pollution and damage and the natural habitats of countless wildlife ruined. This is a amazingly quite and tranquil location which is used by families and others to access the real Lincolnshire countryside. The site contains a deserted medieval village with earthworks, enclosures and strip fields - all of which would be lost to future generations. I strongly suggest that any Planning Officers and/or Councillors who intend to vote in support of this proposal should visit the site first to see just what it is that they would be responsible for destroying. M.E.

As a local resident who is a keen rambler and appreciates the beauty of the Lincolnshire Wolds, I am completely horrified at the proposal to allow an oil exploration plant in the unique Biscathorpe area. This area is regularly frequented by ramblers and families for its rare and quiet beauty. The site is close to the Viking Way which attracts visitors far and wide. Personally I am not against on land oil exploration, but this particular proposal will completely spoil a beautiful spot, not to mention the affect of the heavy traffic and plant noise on the peace and safety of this outstanding area. I strongly urge you to refuse this proposal. G.B.

I oppose the planning application to drill an oil well in the lovely valley of Biscathorpe. The area is to beautiful to be scarred by industrial buildings and heavy vehicles using the narrow roads of the quiet country lanes. The village of Donington on Bain will be ruined. J.N.

This is a unique area of outstanding peace and tranquility on the Viking Way and a popular quiet picnic spot for families and visitors. I have taken several walking and church trips there where people have commented on the peace and unspoiled nature of the countryside. There are significant remains of a medieval village nearby and a tiny chapel renowned for its quiet isolation- a retreat for many. Drilling for oil and all its attendant ancillaries would totally destroy an area of remarkable beauty. W.

This application is within an area of high archaeological sensitivity, in the Deserted Medieval Village of Biscathorpe. The name Biscathorpe means 'Bishop's settlement', probably referring to the Bishop of Durham who held the manors of the village in Domesday Book and in the Lindsey Survey of 1115 AD. Surviving earthworks of the medieval village with its associated enclosures and strip fields lie under permanent pasture. The surviving earthworks may be affected by the development and use of the site, given that the archaeology which survives here are earthworks. This means the archaeology survives right on the ground surface, so any disturbance whatsoever will affect it. Earthworks are easily destroyed not only by digging into them but also by spreading new material over and around them, the methodology of any proposed disturbance should take this into account to mitigate any damage to the heritage asset which may otherwise occur. I therefore recommend that if permission is granted there be a programme of archaeological work, the specification for which should be approved by this department prior to commencement and this office will require ten days' notice before commencement of groundworks. This should be secured by appropriate condition to enable the archaeology which currently survives as earthworks on this site to be recorded prior to any disturbance or destruction. NPPF states that local planning authorities should 'require developers to record and advance understanding of the significance of any heritage assets to be lost (wholly or in part) in a manner proportionate to their importance and the impact, and to make this evidence (and any archive generated) publicly accessible' (s141). If planning permission is granted with an archaeological condition, please ask the developer to contact this office and we will prepare a brief for the works. Lcc Unit 16, Witham Park House, Waterside South, LINCOLN, LN5 7JN

Please do not ruin this beautiful part of our countryside. It is most precious to us. C.W.

I strongly object to the intended work ro occur in Biscathorpe. This will completely ruin the picturesque local area. I have holidayed in Donnington on Bain for 31 years from when I was a young child and fear that the proposed works will have a devastating affect on the local villages. Do not ruin the Lincolnshire wolds! C.S.

To attempt to frack or investigate its possiblility in such an area is to create pollution of the worst kind . I object to this invasion of a local beauty spot. J.P.

This area is a local beauty spot, it has a chalk stream running through it,any pollution in that stream will destroy the fragile ecology of the stream,there is no second chance ,you cannot just clean it up afterwards. Why when there are several brown field sites very nearby i.e. old gravel workings, do Egdon need to drill at this particular location. P.G.

Although the highways department has been involved I am not convinced that the proposed access arrangements to the site are acceptable. The junction of the A157 and Biscathorpe road is I believe a safety problem and the actions required to deal with this problem are not detailed in the documents. I'm also disappointed that the use of Donington Road was not discussed with the Parish Council and residence of Donington on Bain as it is the major access route to the largest village close to the site. Considering the last point why was Donington on Bain not consulted about this application as an adjacent parish and the largest village in the locality, very bad public relations in my mind. M.F.

Strong objection to the proposed plans for Biscathorpe oil well by Egdon resources. The planned well is in an area of outstanding natural beauty; it is a disgrace that such a plan should even be considered by the local council, myself and many others will be strongly opposing this plan/ protesting. I have forwarded our concerns to the European environmental commission. D.G.

The site proposed is a natural beauty spot, with substantial potential for damage to the countryside, wildlife and environment. The brochure from Egdon does not guarantee no environmental impact and the risks seem too high for a proposal that, if it proceeds to full extraction, will only produce c. 2 tanker loads of fuel, . In other words, the proposal is a pure profit motive, risking the environment and not contributing to the country's energy resources. The country roads are also inadequate to take the heavy traffic. I am also concerned about the noise levels from the activities. In addition, we moved here to enjoy the countryside air: my partner suffers from asthma. Flaring exercises are bound to occur at some time, risking her health due to the gases and odour released. M.U.

The Bain is a chalk stream, protected by government legislation. Huge lorries passing through the fords in this beautiful valley will inevitably cause a lot of damage to the stream and its environs. The Bischathorpe valley is an AONB which I visit regularly and it will be completely changed if this development is allowed to go ahead. There is also the possibility of spillage into the River Bain. This would do untold damage, not only locally but downstream all the way to the sea. It seems outrageous that there should be so much damage and disruption in order to retrieve what is a very small amount of oil. It does lead one to question what the motive is - I suspect it must be profit for the company and its shareholders! Hardly a good enough reason to cause so much turmoil for the local populace and the environment. I hope you. L.

Say No based on lack of consultation. Say No to an "Industrial Car Wash" at Biscathorpe fords - this will carry pollution both from the site considered and from outside. Pollution would include on site drilling mud, oil contamination carried out by lorry wheels. Also various highway pollution (winter road salt, diesel particulate etc.) and unknown contamination carried in from other sites. This contamination will be washed off all vehicles in the passage through the fords and hence pollute the river Bain (protected calk stream?). Say No to the risk of an oil tanker accident and Bain pollution. Highest risk is in the winter ice and snow whilst negotiating the valley inclines and fords. Say No to the "Gayton le Wold Bypass". The nationally recognised natural beauty of Biscathorpe has been sacrificed to ease the objections of a limited number of land owners. Say No to all the drill sites considered. With modern horizontal drilling techniques a less controversial site nearer the A157 could easily be found. Say No to the visual, noise and traffic pollution imposed on recreational users of the Viking Way - a National and Lincolnshire tourist resource. Say No to automatic assumption that production permission will also be given. This application for "minimal period for test drilling" is a soft option to obtain full production permission.

I have great concerns regards to the proposed oil drilling at Biscathorpe. I attended a meeting at Donington on Bain village hall as my greatest concern was about Fracking, after watching a TV programme on it it worries me greatly the health and enviroment implications of this procedure but it was said there was no plans for this so I'm hoping this continues. I regularly walk around Biscathorpe along with my family and friends. it is a beautiful area with wonderful and valuable wildlife. The environment and wildlife will be changed and disturbed should this activity go ahead. I believe monies have been spent in the area on the chalk stream to benefit the area recently.I'm sure precautions are taken for spillage but we were informed that should there be one and the oil leak into the River Bain it would effect the water all the way to the wash, not just the water but our precious wildlife, that is irreplaceable. Money should not come before nature and health. T.B.

As a resident of the Bain valley; an area of outstanding natural beauty, open to all via the Viking Way,(and Lindsay Loop),I feel responsible for Lincolnshire's "crown jewels." This application is indeed the thin end of a wedge, if Egdon Resources U.K Ltd were successful in finding mineral resources then their subsequent pursuit of return on capital, already invested, is to be expected. I suggest the impact of this development, has little direct, adverse, impact on all but a handful local country residents. Equally, however it fails to improve our infrastructure or job opportunities. Environmentally the proposal is to place a carbuncle upon our landscape, is this a price worth paying for such a negligible return of mineral wealth where output could, optimistically, be no more than a few filled oil tankers per week? J.B.

I strongly object to the proposal for the following reasons: The land to the east of Biscathorpe is an area of outstanding natural beauty that makes the Wolds the most attractive part of Lincolnshire. It would be rediculous to think that the site, access track and flare pit would not irrepairably damage this. Lincolnshire Council is funding initiatives to actively encourage local leisure and tourism. It is difficult to see how this is supporting this. Who would return to the site of an oil rig? The site brings with it the risk of accidental explosion and contamination. Although small, this would have a devastating impact on the local community, livestock, crops and vegetation. The impact would be immense and irreversable for the area. There are rare features such as, the chalk stream that would be lost. The local roads are not capable of supporting the extra traffic needed to service the site. The level of construction input itself would change the local area. The track and supporting roads would hardly be in keeping with the rural aspect of the Biscathorpethe area. There are other known potential sites that would bring fewer irreversable consquences. For all these reasons I believe these proposals would have a huge impact on the area whilst offering no benefits to the community or wider aims of council policy. R.A-J.

I am whole-heartedly opposed to the drilling of an exploratory oil well at Biscathorpe. The site is completely unsuited to usage by heavy vehicles. The very fact that they will have to construct a new access track, desecrating our beautiful countryside as they do so, is proof enough. The vehicles would have to cross the fords, which would be quite ruined, and lead to possible pollution of the chalk streams which lead into the River Bain. The site is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The equipment and machinery needed to make a new access track and to transport equipment in and waste materials out will totally destroy the nature of this unspoilt part of Lincolnshire. Such industrialisation of the area will disturb the very varied wildlife and prevent walkers and families from enjoying the Viking Way. Although the proposal is for an exploratory dig, and seems to imply a temporary nature to the works, the damage to the countryside will already have been done, regardless of whether oil is found or not. I cannot imagine that the company would invest large amounts in digging for oil, unless they had good reason to believe that it contained oil. To this end, the development ceases to be temporary. Biscathorpe park has been enjoyed by generations and forms part of our heritage. I want my children to be able to take their own children there to appreciate its beauty and tranquility in years to come. If this is allowed to go ahead, where does it all end? We will have no countryside left in Britain, if money is at the heart of everything we do. On a wider scale, investing large sums of money in continuing to look for fossil fuels will, in the long term, be detrimental to the environment, as whilst such large sums of money are involved, there will be little incentive to invest in alternative forms of energy. That the council could even consider an application for an oil well in this unique and stunning part of the Lincolnshire Wolds beggars belief. H.B.

I strongly object for many reasons including; this is a unique part of our countryside, quiet, unspoilt & a haven for people to enjoy peacefully. The Viking Way, Lindsey trail (just opened) & great cycling all bring people here to experience the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The access roads are not suitable for lorries & increased traffic. Widening the road will distroy archaeology. More vehicles going through 2 fords will cause pollution & damage to the chalk streams. Compaction of soil under some big trees will permanently damage them. Removal of old hedges cant be reinstated over night. Gas flares & lighting will not only destroy this part of the Wolds with their dark skies, but will have an impact for miles around. Drilling for oil at this location will destroy an incredible area of tranquility for us all. L.L.

My interest in this area is as a walker, a nature lover and lover of the countryside. This is a disastrous plan for our future. The land is full of birds, bees, butterflies and possibly rare and certainly endangered flower species therefore what is being planned is convening Policy PPS9 and geological conservation has to be considered also. I also wonder how land drainage will be affected by the construction of a new access track, well site, portable cabins, offices etc. This is an ancient and untouched area of Lincolnshire,I understand there is a burial mound there and the remains of a medieval village and therefore policy A3, referring to local areas and settlement hierarchy has to be looked at very carefully as does H/2 (c)- loss of open space and ENV 16 Protection of sites of Natural Historical significance. I believe development of this site would contravene Policy A2 and National Planning Policy PPS1. I cannot imagine what the Lincolnshire Trust think about this unnecessary action. Refusing this application would be a very positive step for a local council to take in this time of technological advancement and climate change that is being so heavily affected by the loss of natural ways, nature and wildlife in our so delicately balanced ecosystem. With great concern A.M.

We are told that when making representations to planning applications like this we are to remain factual and slightly detached from emotion and sentiment. Unfortunately in this case it is unavoidable . It is an emotional issue because it concerns a place of beauty. It would be extremely upsetting and worrying if a place such as Biscathorpe was allowed to be disturbed and altered in any way by a man-made project designed with monetary profit as a driving force. Even the act of allowing exploration to go ahead, not to mention if full oil production was allowed in the future, would necessitate so much alteration. We are all told that we should not be alarmed by change because progress is good, but when it refers to a place such as Biscathorpe I do feel that any change can only be for the worse because it is a hundred percent beautiful just as it is. We do not want new roads or existing junctions widening, or the river fords affecting or the risk of water in the (very rare and exceptional) chalk stream habitats polluting. We don?t want the sight or sound of trucks, and eventually maybe tankers, trundling along, churning out the kind of exhaust fumes and noises which we go to the countryside to escape from. We also don?t want the light pollution and smells in the air which we all know will inevitably be emitted at some point in the future. In our hearts we know that by granting even temporary planning permission for an exploratory borehole in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty we will be setting spores which will turn into an eventual cancer, and another place will be lost. Please do not allow any chance for the rot to start. C.M.

I object on the grounds of environmental issues including pollution, disruption to wildlife and the devastation caused to the natural landscape. A.T.

As a resident of the Bain valley; an area of outstanding natural beauty, open to all via the Viking Way,(and Lindsay Loop),I feel responsible for Lincolnshire's "crown jewels." This application is indeed the thin end of a wedge, if Egdon Resources U.K Ltd were successful in finding mineral resources then their subsequent pursuit of return on capital, already invested, is to be expected. I suggest the impact of this development, has little direct, adverse, impact on all but a handful local country residents. Equally, however it fails to improve our infrastructure or job opportunities. Environmentally the proposal is to place a carbuncle upon our landscape, is this a price worth paying for such a negligible return of mineral wealth where output could, optimistically, be no more than a few filled oil tankers per week? J.B.

The site is unspoiled and in an AONB. The access roads are totally unsuitable for the heavy goods vehicles needed during both construction and production phases. The traffic movements would disturb the tranquil nature of the area and would be a hazard to walkers on the Viking Way which would share the single track. The two fords are a unique feature of this beauty-spot and are entirely unsuitable for heavy goods traffic. The traffic that would use the site would pollute the chalk streams running through the ford and threaten to damage the delicate local biodiversity of the area. The locality depends on tourism and agriculture under environmental stewardship. The tranquility of the area would be destroyed by the traffic and production processes. The risks associated with a possible major accident would be disastrous for the area as a whole and especially the ecology of the River Bain and the Lower River Witham. Gas flares and site lighting would threaten the unique aspect of this area which is one of few dark areas remaining in the country. J.S.

This development would ruin a rare and exceptionally unspoiled and tranquil environment. The impact of heavy traffic on the fords, on plant and wildlife and the Bain as an ecologically precious and fragile chalk stream would cause irreparable damage. The risk of oil spillages, especially in the event of extreme flooding (possible given increasingly unpredictable weather patterns), could be catastrophic. Biscathorpe should be preserved as it is for the benefit of the local community, wildlife and walkers and visitors to the area. A.S.

I refer to the proposal to drill for oil at Biscathorpe on two grounds: 1. Government agencies and local authorities have recognised the importance of chalk streams and have supported measures to preserve and maintain those in the county. Hundreds of lorries passing through the fords at Biscathorpe will inevitably cause serious pollution which will affect water for miles downstream. Heavy rainfall on the drilling site will also cause serious pollution to the chalk streams. 2. Gas flaring is going to cause atmospheric pollution which will ultimately affect the land and water courses. The experiences of those at South Cockrington should not be repeated at Biscathorpe. M.T.

I am shocked to hear (through the local newspaper) of this proposal in an area of outstanding natural beauty and so near to a site of SSI - I thought the above status recognises and protects areas from this type of application going ahead. The clock cannot be turned back once this damage has been caused. The blight on the landscape and the secondary effects i.e. the litter, noise, damage to wildlife and disruption to the area from the site and the infastructure required to support this should mean this does not go ahead. As custodians of this area for us and future generations I trust this application will not be successful. Profit for a few should not take precidence over the issue of protecting this specialist area. Even if issues of the health risks from this are ignored an area of natural outstandng beauty has to be protected. The Institute Grimsby, Asterby Farm, Asterby End, Louth, Lincolnshire, LN119UF

The risks, however low the chance, associated with a major accident has a high consequence, jeopardising the ecology of most of the River Bain and the Lower River Witham. This alone will be a costly issue with removing the pollutants from the land and rivers - leaving the location a scarred area of natural beauty, which many people will remember and probably never visit again. The gas flares and the site lighting will produce constant and considerable light pollution in an otherwise very dark area of the county. The two fords, an essential and unique feature of this beauty-spot, are unsuitable for heavy goods vehicle traffic. The sole land-uses in the vicinity are tourism and agriculture under environmental stewardship. The site is a pristine location in the heart of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The access roads are entirely unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles, both during the construction phase and subsequent production phases. The application is for a temporary well site but there is nothing temporary about the company?s intention. They expect to find commercially producible quantities of oil and gas, with activity continuing for many years, probably decades. Egdon have put profit above any other factor, this is not a site that should be dug up, drilled and attempted to repair after the extraction has taken place. This proposal SHOULD NOT be granted. S.F.

Lincolnshires pillars for economic survival are farming and tourism; the latter being founded on rural ambience, ecology & biodiversity. This site is within a statutory Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The proposed development flies in the face of the principle of conservation in the heart of one of the most beautiful parts of the Wolds as well as jeopardising the attractions relating to tourism. - The planned site is too close to the site of a medieval village (tourism). - Local roads are completely unsuitable for HGVs & any further increase in non domestic traffic. Suggested physical alterrations will spoil the character of the area and be in conflict with tourists using the Viking Way, as well as placing walkers at risk from vehicles. An unusual & attractive feature of the locality is the fords, which would be destroyed by these vehicles. - The development would cause huge disturbance to wildlife, both during the development process and after the development is completed, by reason of noise, lighting, the use of flares and interference with the natural landscape. Very low light pollution is a key attraction for tourism because it is so hard to find elsewhere in the UK. - The application may be for temporary planning permission, but the impact would be adverse and permanent. The applicant's intention ( undoubtedly founded on highly reliable research otherwise this initial investment would not be being pursued) is to find commercial quantities of oil and/or gas for exploitation over future years. It would be perverse of LCC to allow this permission and then say no to the next one( which will come)for extraction! - Allowing fossil fuel extraction would contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases and global warming ( ref recent international report). - Finally, I am concerned with the possibility of accidents and pollution and their impact on the local environment and watercourses. Whilst the risk may be low, it seems unwise to place this unique chalk stream ( of which very few exist) at any risk, no matter how small. I sincerely hope that the people who we charge with making planning decisions are actually going to come any physically view this site and it's environs, to see for real the potential impact of this permission. This is not just any old arable bit of land, it is arguably the prettiest in Lincolnshire - LCC should be working to "sell" the area for tourism and enjoyment, not for profit of a few shareholders. Granting permisson now will give a green light to changes that are reversible ONLY on paper, but anyone seeing this area knows these changes would alter the landscape forever. C.D.

I am against this type of development in this location. It will spoil a delightful area of beautiful and historic countryside in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Deserted Medieval Village, River Bain valley, Viking Way public footpath are enjoyed by hundreds every year for the quality of quiet recreation. S.P.

My wife and I have deep concerns about the proposed drilling for oil at Biscathorpe. In particular, we are very worried about the long-term effects of gas flaring due to the release of toxic substances, which can be a great health risk to both humans and wildlife. Most of the Western world and even third world countries do not do on shore gas flaring, yet this country seems to permit it, in fact there is a site just outside Louth which is now experiencing the negative effects of this practise. I would have thought Egdon would have opted for safer options in the interests of their own self-preservation. My reasoning is that at some point if the connection between gas flaring and human health problems is proven beyond a doubt that company could find themselves facing massive compensation claims! In addition to the above I am extremely concerned about the effect on the chalk streams in the area, in particular the River Bain, of which I part own a section a short distance down stream from Biscathorpe. Chalk streams are a rare and valuable asset and 85% of the worlds chalk streams are in the UK. Preservation and safe stewardship is an obligation that we should take very seriously for the sake of wildlife and posterity. To allow anything that endangers their future, especially possible contamination from toxic chemicals, must not be permitted. Finally I would like comment on the brochure provided by Egdon explaining the proposals for the well site at Biscathorpe. I am somewhat baffled by the statement that the site is downwind from Biscathorpe house. In recent years there have been more diverse wind directions in this area possibly due to changes in the jet stream? This has resulted in more easterly winds especially in the autumn. Whilst understanding the economic benefits of the proposed operations, especially if the site proves viable, considerations relating to the possible release of toxic substances and the health of local chalk streams, not to mention human and wildlife populations, must be of paramount importance and given absolute first priority. J.& E.G.

Why chose such a rare site that would be destroyed by this activity which raises concerns in a significant number of the population. M.S.

I have the following objections: 1 The development will damage the beauty of this part of the Bain Valley which is part of an AONB and contains part of the Viking Way. It is an area enjoyed by many walkers including myself and other visitors. If successful and the site goes into production this damage will continue, although to a lesser extent. 2. Damage to the natural environment and wildlife particularly from the road works and the site construction but also from the initial heavy road use. 3. Damage to the chalk stream from the increased use of the 2 fords shown on the map. Chalk streams are a delicate but important both for water quality and as the habitat for a number of rare species. At a time when in other parts of the UK local authorities, water companies and wildlife trusts are working together to restore chalk stream habitats damaged by industrial & other development and when the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership is working to restore & improve chalk streams in this County it would seem perverse to allow this development. J.L.

This development would blight a beautiful tranquil landscape, destroy delicate fords and quiet lanes with frequent lorry movements. The all-night lighting, which we have seen with similar oil pumping schemes near Lincoln, will ruin the 'dark skies environments.' Night-time guided walks sometimes take place here, for the benefit of the starry sky. As an amateur astronomer myself, this would be another glaring light in what has previously been a delightful pristine sky, untarnished by urban glow.N.L.

Will scar the visual amenity of the Bain valley and the Viking Way. Contamination of the water courses a clear possibity. Conflicts with the defined characteristics of the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB. Unacceptable levels of traffic. P.S.

The most beautiful unspoilt beauty spot in Lincolnshire and home of rare wildlife species protected by Defra. I surely need not say any more. The people of this county will never stand to this. Come on LCC show some courage. L.L.

Biscathorpe Park - as it is known locally - is a precious beauty spot enjoyed for its tranquillity by many visitors, local people, families, walkers, cyclists and riders. It's feeling of seclusion, of being off the beaten track, is fundamental to it's attractiveness. A more unsuitable site for an industrial installation and for bringing heavy lorries through is hard to imagine. In good weather children often play in the two fords on the gated road and in the adjacent field. On any day, on any visit to the park one encounters some-one else there too for quiet recreation of one kind or another. The Viking Way and the Lindsey Trail run either side of the proposed site.The well head will be visible from most vantage points around the sheltered valley and will detract from the beauty of the landscape. Furthermore the proposed turning off the A157 to Donington on Bain is a notoriously dangerous junction directly on the brow of a hill where there has been at least one fatal traffic accident in recent years. In the park there is a confluence of two chalk streams just a few miles from where the river Bain rises, a field edge dyke runs immediately adjacent to the proposed site and directly in the Bain so there is risk of pollution entering the river. The surrounding arable land and lakes have been home in recent years to lapwing, snipe, swans and and grebe. Surely such a development as is proposed would fly in the face of efforts to enhance the environment in this corner of the wolds for wildlife? L.T.

Objection on the grounds of: Rare Chalk Streams in Biscathorpe - Chalk streams have been identified as a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Priority Habitat. The UK BAP is the UK Government's response to the Convention on Biological Diversity, signed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. * A high rain incident would flood the "moat" around the exploratory site and cause pollution of the chalk streams. There is no risk assessment for this in the plans. 2. Rare Incident - if there is a rare accident, which could be a big explosion there is a risk of major pollution, the "moat" would be breached and, as the Bain flows out to the river Witham and then to the Wash, there could be major pollution all the way to the sea. There is no risk assessment in the application for such an incident. R.W.

I am concerned about the potential negative impact of the application on the River Bain and the area surrounding Biscathorpe, which is an area of great beauty. The necessary traffic and construction work is also likely to cause concern. K.W.


Egdon Resources Lincolnshire Echo

The following article, by Alan Tootill, refers to the Planning Application for an oil well to be drilled at Laughton. It shares a number of points in common with the Biscathorpe proposal, not the least being the same company, Egdon Resources, behind it. The application was granted permission in July 2013 by Lincolnshire County Council.

Taking a look at the Laughton planning application and committee reports.

It is of course disappointing that an initial recommendation of refusal was made on grounds only of noise, and even more disappointing this recommendation is now changed to approval.

Firstly I note the application includes fracking, as declared by the applicant, although "only a small amount of fracking might be employed to stimulate the sandstone reservoir". I also note that the application declares the intention to drill horizontal wells. "If the results of the initial well are encouraging the subsequent wells would be directional drilled probably due south or south-east from the site." The application describes exploring for hydrocarbons. It is not restricted therefore to oil, a permission would allow exploration for oil OR gas.

I think there are two reasons the operators want to hide the fact they want to explore the shale gas potential. One is that they are now fully aware of public opposition to fracking. Secondly they are hoping to avoid the £100,000 payment that local communities are now promised for an exploration site. I note however that the UKOOG "Community Engagement Charter" does NOT restrict in its wording the giving of this money for shale gas fracking only, but says the operators will "Provide benefits to local communities at the exploration/appraisal stage of £100,000 per well site where hydraulic fracturing takes place". It seems there is a case for saying this would apply to the Biscathorpe exploration. I realise the aim is to stop the exploration not get paid for it, but it's worth bearing this in mind.

It seems clear from the documentation that the plan to drill a horizontal south or south-east from the drilling site (this, of course is entirely consistent with Egdon's shale plan) is NOT represented on the red line plan submitted with the application. The Balcombe Cuadrilla application was withdrawn for reasons that included the doubtful legality of the original application. This similarly failed to include the possible area of horizontal drilling on the red line plan. It could well be, therefore, that any permission granted could be challenged as being unlawful.

I have had a bee in my bonnet about horizontals and owner rights for some time, (see Horizontal wells - the implications for landowners. and Government planning to undermine centuries-old landowner rights.) This issue has now risen to the top, especially after the government's recent planning regulation changes, currently under consultation, intend to remove the right of owners of land under which drilling is to take place to be informed by the applicant during the planning permission process. (To be honest on this DECC told me a while ago that there was no such condition for this to happen at planning stage, but if the government believes there is....)

I note that according to the document on Egdon's intent, they talk about fracking patterns of horizontals extending to maybe 3km. The planning statement for Biscatharpe says: "The settlement pattern within 1 km of the Application Site is limited, consisting of residential properties within the hamlets of Biscathorpe and Gayton le Wold and other isolated farmhouses to the south and east." Which, of course, is exactly the direction they want to drill horizontally. There are of course other issues regarding the failure to describe the extent and direction of horizontal drilling (and the assumed fracking that could happen) - in particular this leaves a big gap in the understanding of the proposal's potential effects on the environment, does it underdrill water sources etc.

So in my opinion the pertinent questions are-

In my view the application is very deficient for other reasons. It does not (unless I have missed something) describe a drilling plan, and detail the formations it intends to drill and test (in other words we can not see if they are drilling through and sampling shale formations). It does not list chemicals to be used as part of drilling muds or the admitted fracking activities. It is therefore difficult to see how the County Council could have come to any conclusion as to environmental effects. There is no waste plan or description of what is to happen to the drilling or fracking wastes. If you compare that with what, for example, Celtique or Cuadrilla have produced with their planning applications, it is very skimpy. I would be very miffed if I were a resident that Lincolnshire County CounCil did not demand the best quality of application in order to protect their residents and environment, especially when they now know what a high level of public interest there is in the issue of onshore drilling. In fact I would be furious...

I would point out that I'm not a lawyer or planning professional, just pulling info together what I have collected. Alan Tootill 10/9/2013


Alan Tootill is author of the very useful book Fracking the UK. Alan also produces the blog Fracking Digest, providing regular news of the issues that concern us.

Europa Oil holds the license to develop Underground Coal Gassification (UGC) in the close off-shore area from Tetney to Mablethorpe and Clean Coal holds a block in the Humber Estuary. UGC involves gassification of coal seams deep underground by injecting oxygen and 'burning' the coal in a process similar to the old town gas production but keeping the coal in place without mining it. The 'syngas', a mixture of carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane, is produced. This can then be burnt in power stations to produce electricity, carbon dioxide and more global warming.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds says:

The RSPB does not support shale gas extraction in the UK because:

  1. The regulatory framework for the industry does not provide sufficient protection for the natural environment.
  2. Government has not put forward a convincing case that demonstrates that shale gas extraction will not undermine the UK's ability to meet its legally binding climate change targets or its broader commitment to keeping global climate change to within 'safe limits'.

The National Trust says:

We have a presumption against fracking on National Trust land because natural gas is a fossil gas. The mining process also gives rise to potential environmental and landscape impacts.

Fossil gas is a finite resource that can only be mined and not harvested – it is not renewable. Its combustion produces greenhouse gases which we believe contribute to climate change. Climate change has a significant adverse impact on our core purpose of looking after special places, for ever for everyone.

The Lancashire local radio station RadioWave ran an opinion poll about fracking. Here's a screenshot of the results:

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