Royal Courts of Justice hear Biscathorpe's 'SOS' cry against oil drilling

Protestors outside the High Court. © Crispin HughesProtestors outside the High Court. © Crispin Hughes
Protestors outside the High Court. © Crispin Hughes
​Campaigners aiming to stop oil drilling in their picturesque Wolds village have finally had their day – or days – in court.

Permission was first granted to drill for oil at Biscathorpe in 2014 and the application for further exploratory drilling and 15 years of production was refused by Lincolnshire County Council in 2021.

But this decision was overturned by the Planning Inspectorate in November 2023 after the applicant, Egdon Resources UK Ltd – now owned by US-based group Heyco Energy – appealed against that decision.

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SOS Biscathorpe have now taken their fight to the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Wednesday and Thursday (June 5 and 6) to challenge the decision, saying that the impact on the landscape and the climate crisis outweigh any claims that the Biscathorpe site’s oil output would contribute to national energy security – as well as arguing that there has been an “error of law in not considering alternative proposals”.

Mathilda Dennis of SOS Biscathorpe said, “We've spent two days in court grappling with complex planning issues, and it's all too easy to lose sight of the essential fact that the science is clear: no new fossil fuels.

​”According to the International Energy Agency, the world cannot afford to burn existing known fossil fuels and maintain even half a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°c above pre-industrial levels - the limit recognised as being vital if we hope to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.

“So there is no justification for new fossil fuel exploration anywhere, let alone in protected National Landscapes.

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​”We've known for some time that we need clear policy and legislation that is both consistent and fit for a climate crisis, but arguments from the Secretary of State's lawyers in Court highlighted that we are a long way from that.”

SOS Biscathorpe member Amanda Suddaby added: “Science dictates that somewhere, at some point, some oil will have to be left in the ground. Now is the time, and for UK decision-makers, Biscathorpe is the place to start. We trust that the High Court decision will reflect that.”

It is unknown when the decision will be made.

​Egdon Resources’ Mark Abbott said: “Egdon was happy to contribute and to support the Secretary of State in its rebuttal of the challenges bought by SOS Biscathorpe.

"We recognise that the Judge will need to take her time to fully consider the case brought to the High Court and we look forward to her decision in due course.”

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