The company already held a permit to drill the exploratory borehole and manage wastes arising from that process. This variation allows them to drill a new borehole, drill a side track from the original borehole and carry out flow testing to understand the long term economic viability of the oil and gas reserves. No hydraulic fracturing will take place as part of this activity.
The company has also been issued with an environmental permit to allow them to store oil on site following production.
The company will need to adhere strictly to the conditions set out in these permits, 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.
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.
For all media enquiries please contact 0800 141 2743 or email Southeastpressoffice1@environment-agency.gov.uk.