2020 Update: West Newton B construction underway
- Rathlin Energy applied to close the roads around the site during operations
- Access road construction: about six weeks, with ~730 vehicle movements
- Wellsite construction: about six weeks, with ~710 vehicle movements
- 10 weeks drilling per well (permission for 2 wells)
- Rathlin Energy maintain a mini-frack was not undertaken at West Newton A, although there is evidence that they attempted one, and it went wrong.
West Newton B is a well site to explore and test for oil and gas by Rathlin Energy (UK) Ltd. It is the 3rd recent wellsite in East Yorkshire, after Crawberry Hill and West Newton A. An access road has been built across the fields to the south, with the traffic route through the centre of Sproatley.
The proposed depth is approximately 2100m. This is less than Crawberry Hill & West Newton A, and not quite as deep as the Bowland Shale. (However oil companies have been known to drill deeper than they said they would.)
After three years of delays and changing plans, site construction and drilling got underway in Spring 2020. During the pandemic.
It is located in Holderness, north east of Hull between Sproatley and Aldbrough. It’s just East of Burton Constable Hall.
West Newton B Wellsite
East Riding of Yorkshire
A timeline of events and news reports is maintained here:
West Newton-B, East Yorkshire – DrillOrDrop
Planning Permission to drill and test the well was Approved by East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) on 4th June 2015.
The full application, comments & associated documents can be viewed here:
Planning » Application Summary 14/04107/STPLF.
To view the original application documents (as oppose to more recent correspondence) sort the Documents by date, oldest first.
The Planning Officer’s Report (in the Planning Committee Agenda) recommended Approval.
The Planning Conditions, including Condition 12: fracking is not permitted, are in:
Documents > Notice of Decision
Audio recording of the planning meeting:
Archaeology – Condition 4
Planning Condition 4 states, “the site lies within an important archaeological wetland landscape dating back to the prehistoric era … potential remains at risk”. It could be the site of a middle-age West Newton village. A Written Scheme of Investigation had to be agreed with ERYC in order to meet this condition.
Environment Agency (EA) Permits
The EA permit allows the company to drill a well for conventional gas exploration, to burn any gas produced during the drilling or testing of the well in a flare, and to discharge clean surface water from the site. It covers the disposal of potentially radioactive waste water, but does not say to which licensed facility it would go.
The Permit, aka Mining Waste Permit, was issued on 2nd August 2016 by the EA here.
The Application for the above Permit was made on 15th Sept 2015:
A complete archive of West Newton “Community” Liaison Committee Minutes can be found on the West Newton A page here.
How many more?
One of our biggest concerns has always been the sheer number of wells, close together, that the unconventional oil & gas industry requires. The countryside ends up looking like this:
In order to produce the amount of gas of which government & industry boast would require 75,000 wells across the UK; perhaps a couple of thousand across the East Riding.
Rathlin Energy already have permission to drill 2 more wells on their existing 2 sites at either side of their licence area. Now they’re constructing this 3rd site, along with a new connecting road, only a mile south of West Newton A, and were discussing plans with East Riding of Yorkshire Council as long ago as April 2014. It is a lot harder to stop this industry once established. So… how many more?
Some example objection letters to West Newton B explaining exactly why locals are so opposed to industrialisation of the East Riding for the risky exploitation of outdated fossil fuels.