Biscathorpe Oil Exploration: A Fracking Foothold?
September 3rd 2013Egdon Resources has made a planning application to construct a temporary well site and flare pit, and an exploratory borehole, at Biscathorpe. The wording of the proposal talks about "undertaking of production tests and retaining the site and wellhead valve assembly gear for evaluation." There would also be access roads for the increased traffic from lorries.
BiscathorpeI'll admit, I had to look Biscathorpe up on a map. It's a tiny hamlet mid-way between Ludford and Donington on Bain, and about 6.5 miles west of Louth. The land in question is part of the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is close to the river Bain. The ecology report mentions otters, white clawed crayfish, three species of bats, and bluebells.
Lasting impact?This development may not seem to have much more impact than other onshore oil wells that have been set up around Lincolnshire, and it is intended to be a temporary structure, lasting about a year from construction to restoration. However, it's of concern because it may be a precursor to shale gas exploitation, using hydraulic fracturing techniques.
According to this government map (PDF), most of Lincolnshire has blocks on offer for onshore licensing. Those areas that are not on offer are already under licence. So fracking could be on the cards across large swathes of the county, and the government certainly seems keen to include shale gas as a part of the country's energy mix.
Fracking is of considerable concern because it can release methane into the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide. It also raises the risk of water contamination, heavy traffic, increased water use, and earthquakes.
You can view the full plans on the Lincolnshire County Council website.