SOS Biscathorpe launch GoFundme for legal challenge of oil drilling

Campaigners are appealing for help to fight a decision to allow oil drilling in Biscathorpe.
Members of SOS Biscathorpe.Members of SOS Biscathorpe.
Members of SOS Biscathorpe.

​SOS Biscathorpe is a small local group of volunteers who have been campaigning since 2014 to stop oil drilling going ahead in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) over fears that treated surface water from the site will be released into the River Bain chalk stream stream.

In October 2021, Lincolnshire County Council refused permission for a new oil drilling development.

However, developers Egdon Resources appealed the decision to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, and an inquiry presided over by Planning Inspector Paul Thompson took place at Kenwick Park Hotel in Louth and overturned the decision in November this year.

Mr Thompson said in his report that although “there would be an adverse impact on the landscape and scenic beauty of the AONB”, that there was a “national need identified for oil production” and that the proposed development would be “in the public interest.”

The decision was slammed by CPRE The Countryside Charity as “completely unacceptable” and Coun Ian Fleetwood, chairman of the Planning Committee at Lincolnshire County Council, said that residents of Biscathorpe will be “bitterly disappointed”.

And now SOS Biscathorpe have launched a GoFundMe page to raise enough money to bring a legal challenge against the decision, with the aim of raising £20,000 in just two weeks, employing the services of specialist environment lawyers at law firm Leigh Day to lodge its claim at the High Court next week.

The case will be brought by Mathilda Dennis, on behalf of SOS Biscathorpe and represented by Estelle Dehon KC and Dr Lois Lane, of Cornerstone Barristers, and Ricardo Gama and Julia Eriksen, of law firm Leigh Day.

Mathilda said: “SOS Biscathorpe is fighting on behalf of every community up and down the UK that wants to protect our natural environment for the long term health of the planet and its people.”

Leigh Day solicitor Julia Eriksen said: “Our client is steadfastly continuing its long battle of fighting oil development in Lincolnshire Wolds AONB and has instructed us to prepare a claim for statutory review.

"The Inspector acknowledged that the development would cause harm to the AONB however allowed the appeal regardless.

"This case will also argue that the Inspector’s approach to the legal requirements for assessing downstream greenhouse gas emissions, which is relevant to many other fossil fuel developments, was flawed.”

Egdon Resources declined to comment on the potential legal challenge by SOS Biscathorpe.

The office of the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities has been approached for comment.

To make a donation to the campaign, visit https://gofund.me/85305081

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