The Environment Agency has today (Monday 30 November) issued a variation to the mining waste permit held by Horse Hill Developments Limited.
The company already held a permit to drill the exploratory borehole and manage wastes arising from that process; this variation allows them to test whether the oil reserves will flow and at what rate. No hydraulic fracturing will take place as part of this activity.
The company will need to adhere strictly to the conditions set out in the permit, which will ensure the local community and environment are protected.
The Environment Agency considered the opinions raised by local people during the 4-week consultation with communities, interested groups and other professional organisations before reaching this decision.
The company has also been issued with an environmental permit to manage and dispose of radioactive waste containing naturally occurring radioactive material arising from the production of oil and gas. This permit limits the amount of waste allowed on site at any one time and requires aqueous and solid wastes to be disposed of within 3 months, at sites permitted to receive and dispose of these radioactive wastes.
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said:
We would like to thank all those people who responded to the consultation. Since the consultation period closed, Horse Hill Developments Limited has provided additional information to clarify some of the aspects of their application for flow testing.
After considering all of the information available and completing our assessment we are confident that the environment and people will be protected. Environment Agency officers will now ensure compliance with these operating conditions during the next phase of works.