Last week, a spokesperson for the Louth and Horncastle MP said: “Victoria understands the strength of feeling surrounding the oil drilling site in Biscathorpe, and in 2019 she met with the chair of the community liaison group, Nick Bodian, Lincolnshire county Councillor Hugo Marfleet, and East Lindsey district councillor Richard Fry to discuss its impact on the community.
“Since then a further application has been submitted by Egdon Resources for drilling and oil production at the site, and Victoria has been contacted by a number of concerned constituents who live in the locality and has held subsequent meetings with Nick Bodian on the issue.
“While members of Parliament do not play a formal role in planning issues, Victoria has detailed her reasons for objecting to the proposals in her correspondence to Lincolnshire County Council ahead of the application being presented to the planning and regulations committee for debate and determination.”
It is understood that the county council will make a decision on the oil drilling plans no sooner than October this year.
In her letter to Lincolnshire County Council on July 12, Ms Atkins described the proposals being: “completely at odds” with the character and natural beauty of the Biscathorpe area, adding that over three million people visit the Lincolnshire Wolds every year and people’s livelihoods depend on this area continuing to attract those tourists.
Ms Atkins added further concerns about the impact on the environment – noting the River Bain chalk stream which runs adjacent to the site – and claimed the proposals would represent the ‘industrialisation’ of the Lincolnshire Wolds and may risk “long term damage”. She concluded her letter by ‘strongly urging’ councillors to reject the application.
• Edgon Resources boss responds to MP’s concerns
Egdon Resources’ managing director, Mark Abbott, told the Leader this week that the concerns raised by Victoria Atkins have been ‘comprehensively addressed’ in their plans.
Mr Abbott said: “We have been engaging with Ms Atkins and her representative who is a member of our community liaison group for the Biscathorpe site.
“We work very carefully to try to minimise the impact of all of our sites as much as possible, but we are particularly aware of the natural beauty and landscape quality of this sensitive area.
“We have therefore been working closely with officers at Lincolnshire County Council and the Environment Agency, along with other regulators, to directly address the issues about our proposed operation.
“We are very confident that there will be minimum impact on our neighbours, the chalk stream and the AONB [Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty] more widely.
“All of the concerns highlighted by Ms Atkins have been comprehensively addressed in the documentation which supports the planning application.
“This is a small site, which would be highly regulated and managed, would be screened from its surroundings and have no more impact in terms of industrialisation than the surrounding farms.”