Consultation launched on draft decision for commercial oil and gas production

Credit: Rathlin Energy

A new consultation has begun into plans for commercial oil and gas production at West Newton A, in East Yorkshire.

It follows an initial consultation on an application for the site lodged in December 2021.

The Environment Agency has said it it is “minded to” grant a variation to the environmental permit to Rathlin Energy (UK) Ltd to drill additional oil and gas wells and carry out commercial production at the West Newton A well site.

This means the agency is satisfied appropriate measures are in place for oil and gas extraction without causing harm to the environment or human health.

Rathlin Energy has operated its exploratory oil and gas drill site at West Newton A in East Riding of Yorkshire since 2013 under the conditions of an environmental permit.

It is seeking to vary that permit to allow for the creation of six additional wells and sidetracks, the relocation of oil storage facilities and the installation of gas engines which will produce electricity for export to the National Grid.

The business has already secured planning approval for the proposed activity. But it is required to have both planning and environmental permitting approved before operations can start.

Issued by the Environment Agency, environmental permits detail the conditions that an operator is required to meet to ensure its activities minimise the risk of harm to people and the environment.

Kathryn Richardson, area environment manager at the Environment Agency, said: “The views of the local community on this site are hugely important, which is why we are once again running a consultation now we are at draft decision stage.

“In assessing this permit variation, we have completed a detailed and rigorous assessment of Rathlin Energy’s application to ensure the operating techniques and control measures at the proposed facility comply with the legal requirements of the Environmental Permitting Regulations – which are in place to protect people and the environment.

“We welcome comments from the public and interested groups.”

Two documents have been produced which can be commented on as part of the consultation: a draft decision document and a draft permit.

The draft decision document explains the Environment Agency’s thought process and how it has taken on board the comments received in the first consultation. The draft permit outlines the conditions the operator would have to meet.

The draft decision and draft permit, along with other previously available documents, are available online: HU11 5DA Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited, EPR/BB3001FT/V005 environmental permit draft decision advertisement – Environment Agency – Citizen Space (