Map of block TQ34d taken fromDECC Habitats Regulations Assessments of 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round
This summer, the government held a consultation about how new oil and gas licences may affect the UK’s most important wildlife sites.
The new licence blocks were announced under the 14th round in August. The government was required to assess what impact oil or gas operations would have on wildlife sites protected under European law.
One of the new licence blocks is in Surrey: it covers Lingfield, Horne and Blindley Heath. Read more about block TQ34d here
Block TQ34d is close to the Ashdown Forest Special Protection Area. EU member states have a duty to protect the habitats of migratory birds and certain particularly threatened birds in SPAs.
It also overlaps with a wildlife site managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust at Blindley Heath. Read the rest of this entry >>
BBC Insight South East ran a piece on the Horse Hill oil well near Gatwick this week.
It’s interesting viewing – and debunks the ‘100 billion barrels of oil under the Weald’ figure we heard back in April. You can watch the programme here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06h87kw/inside-out-south-east-12102015 (It’s available for 27 days at the time of writing)
One of the interviewees, Professor Al Fraser, a petroleum geologist working at Imperial College, London, gave a useful explanation of the characteristics of the Weald oil basin.
And he estimated that far from the bonanza the media had speculated about, the Horse Hill well might in fact make a profit of about $150 a day.
Meanwhile, nothing is happening on (or under) the ground at Horse Hill.
Back in May, Horse Hill Developments Limited, the site operators, applied to the Environment Agency for a Mineral Waste Variation Permit, which would allow them to test the well they drilled last summer (subject to getting various other permits too).
As far as we know, the Environment Agency has still not issued this permit.
If the Mineral Waste Variation Permit is issued, the operators will still need a Radioactive Substances Permit – which is also subject to a public consultation. So it’s not likely that testing will take place any time soon.