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Oil drilling approval in Lincolnshire ‘completely unacceptable’, we say

7th November 2023

The Government has given permission for long-term oil production in Biscathorpe, Lincolnshire, in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), with a legal challenge due to take place in June 2024. 

Following a swathe of objections (including CPREs), Lincolnshire County Council had previously rejected the plans but was overruled by the Planning Inspectorate in November 2023, which granted a 15-year licence for drilling in Biscathorpe. 

The government’s planning inspectorate said the ‘national need for oil’ was enough to allow the proposal in the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) but acknowledged that the development would have negative impacts on the AONB landscape and that the total oil extracted would only meet a few days’ worth of UK demand.

Commenting on the decision, Paul Miner, Head of Policy and Planning at CPRE, the countryside charity, said:

‘This decision is completely unacceptable at a time when the climate crisis is the biggest threat facing the countryside.  

‘Anyone opposed to turning our countryside into a profit-machine for oil barons will be astounded at this decision which defies common sense. 

‘The proposal to drill for oil would be damaging for the local community and is inconsistent with the government’s own commitments to reach its net-zero target by 2050. 

‘This decision has left residents and local activists in disbelief, who are rightly concerned about the adverse impact on the AONB that drilling would have, and which the inspector’s report itself acknowledges. 

‘We also contest the validity of the justifications. This hugely damaging development will not only result in even more harmful emissions but will have minimal bearing on the UK’s energy security, as the total pool of oil available is barely enough for half a week’s worth of oil supply in the UK. 

‘Worse still, the Planning Inspectorate admits there is no guarantee that this oil will not be exported. 

Legal challenge

A legal challenge to oil drilling is due to be brought to the High Court in London in June. We support local campaigners in challenging this damaging development which would have minimal bearing on energy security, risk damage to wildlife and the Lincolnshire Wolds National Landscape, and create harmful emissions.

Biscathorpe, in the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB Keith Skingle / Alamy Stock Photo


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