Large areas of East Yorkshire are being licensed for petroleum exploration – but first they are subject to Habitats Regulations Assessments (HRA).
NOW is the time to mention any habitat that could be effected by oil & gas licensing, and get it protected.
This briefing, produced by Friends of the Earth, provides guidance on how to comment:
Here is an example response by a local resident which raises some really important points, and may be of help. Feel free to use extracts, but remember original responses are the most powerful.
Which Areas are Effected?
1. Check which areas are effected using the map or table below:
|Area||Licence no.||page no.
of HRA map
|Stainforth, Thorne, Pollington||SE61d||35|
|Pocklington south west, Melbourne||SE74||43|
|Pocklington, Market Weighton||SE84||49|
|Fridaythorpe, north Pocklington||SE85||50|
|North Grimston, Wharram||SE86b||51|
|Tibthorpe, Wetwang, Bainton||SE95||55|
|Driffield, Nafferton, Hutton Cranswick||TA05||136|
|Bridlington, Flamborough Head||TA16||142|
|Flamborough Head, Bempton (_cliffs RSPB reserve), Filey||TA17||143|
2. Check the consultation maps
The HRA maps (Habitat Regulation Assessment) show the licence area, zone of potential impact, and special habitat areas. Find the map you want using the Licence Area number, or page number from the table above.
3. Make your comments
Make a comment if you think habitat could be effected by issuing these licence areas, especially habitat that is not already included in the assessment, and not marked on the maps.
Do you know people in effected areas with knowledge of the habitat that could contribute? Contributions from locals, specialists, or organisations could be especially valuable.
What’s going on
The Oil & Gas Authority earmarked most of the country for exploitation by oil & gas companies. The the country was divided up into licence blocks, mostly using Ordnance Survey 10km x 10km squares.
Oil & gas companies were invited to apply for blocks last year in the 14th onshore licensing round. The applications are not decided on who pays the most, but on the proposed plan of works- on which companies look viable, safe (!), and able to invest in a fast, feasible exploration & exploitation program.
However, they realised they had to apply Habitats Regulations Assessments (HRA) to each block because of European legislation.
The HRA maps with coloured squares take each licence block and a 10km “potential zone of impact”. (but the oil companies say there isn’t any risk?!)
They also apply a 10km buffer zone to any nature habitats.
Where these areas overlap (132 licence blocks) the licence block is being put out to consultation- this is the consultation that has just opened.
If there is no overlap (27 blocks) then it doesn’t need to go to consultation and the block will be offered to an Oil & Gas company later this year in the 1st tranche.
Block SE95 is one of these, the 100km2 grid square West of Driffield, centred on Tibthorpe, and will be offered to Cuadrilla.
It is worth noting that this is only one of many blocks in that area, and the rest have gone out to consultation. So it is very possible that Cuadrilla will be offered a huge area around there after the consultation.