Dear BOW followers,
The date for Surrey County Council Planning & Regulatory committee meeting where the current Brockham oilfield application will be decided has been postponed again! It is the third delay (from the original date in May), and decision is now due on the 8th of August.
Three new documents were added on the 13th of June to SCC planning portal for this application, and one of them has been updated just yesterday (the documents concern emissions to air from gas engine and flare, and we will write more on this next), so we suspect that the reason for delays is the lack of sufficient information and tardiness on the part of Angus Energy in supplying it.
This is something of a pattern and it appears that, following the revelations of unauthorized drilling in January 2017 against the council’s advice, the attitude of Angus Energy towards the regulators has not become any more transparent. The Brockham site is also going through a re-permitting process by the Environment Agency; the initial consultation closed in early September 2017, but the permit has not yet been determined because, as we were told by the Agency, they have not yet been provided with sufficient detail.
Meanwhile, we have discovered a loophole in the regulatory system (which we also wrote about previously). This loophole allows for various activities to take place without the operator having to notify the Environment Agency and without monitoring, until the modern-standard permit is put in place. These activities include acid stimulation, hydraulic fracturing and water re-injection. Our concern is that, if the current planning application for well BRX4Z targeting the Kimmeridge Clay Formation is approved, Angus Energy will be able start stimulation without any environmental monitoring and without us knowing! If you would like to read more about what we discovered, please see this recently published Drill Or Drop? article.
On a different note, below is a picture from last Saturday, when BOW welcomed in Brockham cyclists from the Tour de Frack UK. The ride was organised to highlight the threat of the industrialisation of our countryside, and passed also by the Horse Hill, Balcombe and (planned) Leith Hill drilling sites.
Horse Hill and UKOG
Long-term flow tests of the Kimmeridge layers have just started at the Horse Hill site, which is operated by UK Oil & Gas (UKOG). UKOG applied to the High Court for an injunction that would effectively stop any campaigning that affects its economic interests. The company since amended the order, but it still seeks to cover “lawful activities” threatening penalties including prison for anyone who breaches it. The injunction hearing is on Tuesday, 3rd July at 1pm and support is welcome. Here is the event Facebook page and article by one of the brave defendants who decided to fight it. UKOG are currently not involved at Brockham.