No new oil & gas: our response to Hampshire Minerals and Waste Plan update

The Weald Action Group has urged Hampshire County Council to commit to refuse any plans for new oil and gas developments.

We have responded to the Council’s consultation on the update of its Minerals and Waste Plan, which will guide decision-making on minerals development – including exploration and production of oil and gas – up until 2040.

We  also disputed some inaccurate statements in the Council’s draft Plan:

  • The Plan states that “there is a continuing need for these minerals [oil and gas] in the foreseeable future”. Expert authorities such as the UK Committee on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency say that we should not be drilling for new sources of oil and gas at all.
  • The Plan claims that UK oil “has the added advantage of proximity to demand and markets”. This is untrue. The UK both imports and exports oil and gas. Some 85% of UK-produced oil is exported.
  • The Plan states that onshore oil and gas “makes an important contribution to supply”. This is untrue. In 2023, onshore amounted to just under 2% of UK oil and just under 1.2% of UK gas production. Over three-quarters of onshore oil production came from one site, Wytch Farm in Dorset, and almost 80% of onshore gas from one site in Lincolnshire. The oil produced at Humbly Grove in Hampshire last year amounted to 0.013% of UK production. It is likely that any new production sites would produce similar small amounts.
  • The Plan says: “It is expected that these potential downstream [climate] impacts of the development are fully assessed, either separately or as part of an environmental assessment”. The failure of planning authorities to consider downstream emissions of oil and gas production is the subject of a legal case brought on behalf of the Weald Action against Surrey County Council, which was heard in the Supreme Court in June 2023.

Ann Stewart from the Weald Action Group said: “As it stands, this draft Plan commits the Council to approving planning applications for oil and gas for years to come. Yet any developments approved during its lifetime are likely to be still in operation by 2050, by which time we need to have moved largely away from fossil fuels. It is important that the Council looks ahead and adjusts the plan to this reality.

“We also ask the Council to delete misleading statements. The Plan implies that there is an ongoing need for new oil and gas developments, and that oil from Hampshire is likely to be used here. Neither is true. Hampshire oil is probably as likely to be burned in China as it is in Hampshire.”

Southampton resident Louise Owen said: “We are in a climate emergency. Maintaining a safe and liveable climate means saying no to new oil and gas. We urge Hampshire County Council to face up to the threats of climate change and make its Minerals and Waste Plan fit for the age we live in. That means a blanket ban on new onshore oil and gas projects.”

Read the response in full

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