The government granted a new batch of oil and gas exploration licences today – including one in south east Surrey.
Igas (Island Gas Ltd) now has a licence to explore for petroleum in block TQ34d, which is around Lingfield.
The new licensed areas add to those already licensed, including a batch of blocks that were made available in August. Altogether, an additional 2.8 million acres of the UK have been made available for oil and gas exploration this year.
The licences – known as PEDLs (Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences) – give their holders exclusive rights to search and bore for petroleum in that block.
However they don’t grant permission to do so – that is the responsibility of the relevant Local Authority (Surrey County Council in our case).
Developers also have to secure permissions from the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive.
Today’s announcement comes just days after the end of the Paris Climate Conference, where governments of 196 countries, including our own, agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and strive to keep global temperatures at 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
Speaking before the Climate Conference, the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, said, “We want a strong, ambitious, rules-based agreement that makes the shift to a clean global economy irreversible.”
If the Government is serious about helping to lead this shift, it must stop aiding and abetting the fossil fuel industry. Opening up ever more areas to oil and gas production is completely incompatible with keeping global temperature rises below 1.5 degrees.
- Read more about today’s announcement and see a map of the licensed areas on Friends of the Earth’s website