Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight oil exploration would be 'catastrophic'

Campaigners from Don't Drill The Wight
Image caption Campaigners from Don't Drill The Wight have raised concerns wildlife and water supplies

Drilling for oil on the Isle of Wight would be "catastrophic" to the environment and wildlife, campaigners have said.

UK Oil and Gas Investments (UKOG) wants to drill an exploration borehole at Arreton, south-east of Newport.

Campaign group Don't Drill The Wight said it was also concerned the project could affect water supplies to the island.

UKOG previously said the drilling would benefit the local economy.

Chief executive Stephen Sanderson also pledged to give a percentage of profits to the island if drilling went ahead.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The application involves land near the New Barn Business Park

Opponents from Don't Drill The Wight, which held a protest in Arreton on Saturday, described the plans as "catastrophic" and "atrocious".

Steve Davis, from the group, said the application for the three-year project "contains an element of damage to the environment, to habitat, to wildlife".

He also raised concerns about water as the island imports about 30% of its supply from the mainland.

"If any of our own water supplies were to become contaminated, however small that risk might be, it could put us in a very precarious situation."

The island's Green Party parliamentary candidate, Vix Lowthion, previously said she was "alarmed" by the planning application.

Image caption A protest against the plans was held at Arreton on Saturday

UKOG owns a 95% interest in a development licence for the "Arreton-3" site close to the New Barn Business Park on the A3056.

The company said it would not be the site of fracking.

It had originally planned to drill offshore in its search for reserves but scrapped the plans in 2018 in favour of onshore exploration at Arreton.

An independent report published in 2016 suggested there were 15.7 million barrels of recoverable oil in the area.

A consultation on the planning application, which to Isle of Wight Council runs until 24 July.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites