Arreton & Godshill, Isle of Wight

May Elections Action.

In the run up to local elections on the Isle of Wight on May 6th, we have been frustrated by the fact that no hustings will be held for  candidates to face public questioning. 

So today the Don’t Drill The Wight Campaign team has  written  a letter to election agents for cascading to all candidates for each Ward.  It focusses on our key concerns and highlights major impending actions and policy decisions to be taken by new council members post election.  These include the adoption of a new IOW  Climate  and Environment  Strategy and, of course, the Arreton planning application which still has no confirmed date for decision.

You can read our press release here

Even if we receive no responses, at least it will re-focus  attention to UKOG’s application to members of the prospective reshuffled planning committee.   If some  candidates  do respond – we can, at least,  inform  local islanders of their stance on environmental and climate strategy issues and may help influence voters on their selection of candidates.

Any port in a storm.

News for 2021 – Happy New Year to all at WAG.

  • A New Public Consultation for the Arreton site is to be launched for 5 weeks on Friday 8th January until 12th February.  Site notices are in place.
  • New Documentation from UKOG has been submitted to counter concerns over  Ecology/Water/and Highways.         Number 20/00513/FUL
  • Planning Officers indicate a Spring decision from the local Planning Committee. Date to be confirmed.

    We know that that the public are still being misled by the online IW Council Planning Portal figures – even investors and we have been reporting the true figures from our website home page. This has led to mistrust and confusion for the public between what  the Council and We are saying.In September  we wrote a report for the Planning Officers and IW Councillors outlining our concerns that the results of the last public consultation, including figures shown on the Planning Portal, did not match our tracking and analysis.  You can read it at  this linkOn December 3rd we wrote to the data controller at the Council outlining our concerns over the site management and this disparity. We still await their response.
    As of today 3rd January 2021 the differences in official reporting and our own tracking and analysis of documentation remain.  See Below.


There are currently 2533 documents in total on the Portal

  • We record 2,412 of these as general public comments submitted, with 109 of these being duplicated on the portal.
    The remaining 2303 Public Comments being
  • 2231 Objections:  69 supporting:  3  Neutral. 
  • 23 Consultee Documents
  • The Planning Portal however shows 922 general public comments being
  • 855 Objections:  65 Supporting:(which doesn’t total up  )
  •  9 consultee comments.
  • The Portal does not classify 1602 of the remaining documents in any headings at all.

So now we are entering a second Public Consultation period . We need to avoid the confusion and mistrust that the previous situation created.
We are analysing the additional  submitted documentation for our own objection and outlines for key areas for the public to read and formulate their own objections  from our website  Don’t Drill The Wight 

Additionally we are planning a media campaign to highlight the inaccuracy of reporting from the IW Council Website.

Since the launch of the public consultation on June 19th for 5 weeks we have created a new “Don’t Drill The Wight” Campaign. So our website has changed to reflect that and we are totally focused on getting as many objections as possible since the council have failed on many counts to actually inform the public that the consultation has actually started and so we are doing that for them. Objections can be sent from the home page online, by email or by post.

Our chair person for Frack Free Isle of Wight is a local IWCouncillor and he and several other independent councillors are challenging the whole set up of dealing with an industrial application of this nature during current lockdown. They are about to put forward a motion at next council meeting that the whole process should be halted,  based on the fact that hard copies of documents are not available for viewing by the public (although they suggest that these can be purchased from Zetland for £150!)  Also the committee are not able to visit the site, only two public notices were pinned in the location (one of which blew away after a couple of days) meaning only residents who have internet and online levels of ability to read the documentation and navigate the complex and confusing council planning portal on the website will be able to respond.

Hence we held a public social distance gathering in Merstone, the village close to the site  on Saturday 28th June. Which also hit BBC South and local Press.

Opponents of Isle of Wight drilling launch information campaign after criticising council consultation

Now we have printed 5000 leaflets containing postcards to send in for people without internet confidence. Created garden stakes and reaching out through social media through fbook, twitter and instagram.


PEDL 331
Operator: UK Oil and Gas plc (UKOG) (Licence held with Doriemus Plc)

 200 square kilometres of the Isle of Wight are licensed for oil extraction. Stephen Sanderson, CEO of UK Oil and Gas plc (UKOG), has talked up the prospects, saying that Arreton has “127 million barrels of oil in place, that’s four times the oil in place of Horse Hill, so we’re potentially looking at four times the recoverable volume” (watch the interview where he says this).

UPDATE.  May 15th   2020

The planning application documents  for Arreton 3 drill site are now on the Isle of Wight planning website for public review.  but are not yet with the planning committee because of Covid 19 restrictions.


This application is for exploration and a horizontal appraisal well in the Portland Strata which  contains 3.7 million barrels of the 55 million barrels which are allegedly under Arreton and economically recoverable.

Here is the article link from Ruth at Drill or Drop.

We are spreading the word to our communites and members of the wider public to help them understand the implications of this possible activity and our concerns regarding the difficulties in ensuring that planning legislation process is not changed, overturned or fast tracked by the government whilst the lockdown continues.
Below is an extract of the email I received from the planning officers.

” Following our standard checks, the planning application is valid and therefore,  the documents will be placed on our Public Access website over the next week. The reference number will be 20/00513/FUL.  As you know, due to the current lockdown, we are currently not carrying out public consultations for developments that are classed  as major or that contain an Environmental Statement (ES).

This application is both.   As a result, planning legislation requires a site notice to be posted and for hard copies of the ES to be viewable at the Planning Office. Our opinion is that the necessary public consultations could not be carried out in accordance with the legislation because members of the public would not be able see site notices, or attend the Planning Office to view the ES.  Therefore, we will be consulting with statutory consultees, but delaying the 5 week public consultation until planning legislation is changed, or the lockdown is eased.   However, the application and all associated documents will be visible to all on our website.”

Please can you post this widely and encourage your communities to view our three online presentations about the project and UKOG as a company available from our website home page, and to subscribe for free to our website  to receive updates and information directly as things progress.


UPDATE. March 23rd 2020

UKOG has submitted a planning application for Arreton Exploration and Appraisal wells to the Planning Officers of Isle of Wight Council for review subject to future validation. FFIOW see this as an opporunity for UKOG to submit an application at a time of national lockdown and enforced isolation due to the Covid-19 crisis in order to limit public opposition and make it difficult for a full planning committee to meet, debate and discuss the outcome of the application. Read the letter at this Link

In January 2019, announced that it expected to submit a planning application in the first quarter of 2019 for a test pilot hole and horizontal wellbore at Arreton. In August they secured more time to drill, extending their initial licence phase until July 2023,  although no site lcation was revealed.

In December 2019 UKOG announced the locations of the Arreton Site and a new second site south of Godshill.  A Community Liaison Meeting was held on the Island on December 16th 2019.

UKOG have told investors they intended to submit their planning application for the Arreton Site to the Isle of Wight Council during 2020. To date, no application has been submitted,  but a Pre EIA Screening Report has been filed with Planning Oficers.

More than 1,330 people have signed a petition to the Isle of Wight Council asking them not to let UKOG drill for oil at Arreton.

Frack Free Isle of Wight  is a non- party political group of like-minded individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, professions and political affiliations, who are opposed to the development of new onshore exploration and extraction sites for oil and gas.  It is committed to raising awareness of the local  issues surrounding the drilling for oil on the Island,  all forms of fossil fuel exploitation methods and their potential impact on the Isle of Wight, nationally and globally.

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