UK Oil & Gas PLC (London AIM: UKOG) notes that Surrey County Council (“SCC”) has today refused consent for the Company’s Loxley-1 appraisal project.
The company is carefully considering its position but has concerns over the validity of the decision given the meeting’s conduct, the lack of specific reasons for refusal and reasons why the planning officer’s recommendation was overturned. It is likely that UKOG will appeal the decision via the planning inspectorate.
Stephen Sanderson, UKOG’s Chief Executive, commented:
” We are obviously disappointed by Surrey County Council’s refusal of planning consent for our Loxley-1 appraisal project. The refusal was by a narrow 6-5 decision and against the Planning Officer’s recommendation. Unfortunately, the precise reason or reasons for refusal and why the Planning Officer’s recommendation was overturned, remain unclear, which is less than ideal. The meeting’s general structure and conduct also opens up further questions on the validity of the decision. We also note that the Environment Agency granted the scheme a full environmental permit on 26 June covering all environmental aspects of the proposed scheme.
Furthermore, we note that the meeting’s main discussion centred around a possible highways issue regarding the suitability of the Dunsfold road adjoining the site to accommodate the envisaged traffic flows. However, the County Highways and Planning Officers supported this aspect of the application, stating that the traffic mitigation plan would permit safe use of the road during operations.
As UKOG made clear at the meeting, we believe Loxley is a material regional natural gas resource, which could have made, and could still make, a timely contribution to Surrey and the UK’s recovery from the Covid-related economic downturn, something that has affected everyone. It is particularly disappointing that such a net zero compliant project, which could have been used to generate clean hydrogen fuel for the UK, has had this setback.”
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