Three-quarters of South East residents 'not consulted' by oil and gas firms, despite industry charter

Three-quarters of South East residents 'not consulted' by oil and gas firms, despite industry charter

February 19th, 2018
  • Report reveals 77% of South East residents were not consulted, directly or indirectly, before an oil or gas firm prior to any phase of the development
  • Of those consulted, 84% said they weren't given the opportunity to fully express their views
  • When asked to rate their experience, 95% of respondents said they were unhappy with the oil and gas firms' approach to the public consultation process
  • "Report only serves to confirm what I, campaigners and residents across the country have long suspected: transparency and openness are dirty words in the oil and gas industry," says Keith Taylor MEP

More than three-quarters of residents quizzed about oil and gas drilling operations in their communities said they were not consulted by the firm responsible before a planning application was submitted, despite the industry body's 'Community Charter' stressing the importance of public engagement, according to research released today.

The survey, which was carried out by Keith Taylor Green MEP for the South East, asked residents in the affected communities in the region to comment on thirteen oil and gas drilling operations (and planned operations). The sites included Balcombe and Broadford Bridge in Sussex, Brockham and Leith Hill in Surrey, and plans for onshore drilling on the Isle of Wight.

Over 70% of respondents said at no point in the process were they consulted by the oil and gas firm operating, or planning to operate, a drilling site in their community.

The industry body representing oil and gas firms in Britain, UKOOG, claims, in its ‘Community Charter’, that “openness and transparency has to be at the heart of everything we do.”

A commitment in the charter, to which oil and gas firms sign up, includes the promise to “engage with local communities, residents and other stakeholders at each of the three stages of operations – exploration, appraisal or production, beginning in advance of any operations and in advance of any application for planning permission.”

The report, published today, finds:

  • 77% of residents were not consulted, directly or indirectly, before an oil or gas firm prior to any phase of the development
  • 68% of residents were not consulted, directly or indirectly, at any later stage either
  • In total, 71% of residents felt they were not consulted
  • Of the people with which the firm consulted, 84% said they weren't given the opportunity to fully express their views
  • When asked to rate their experience, 95% of respondents said they were unhappy with the oil and gas firms' approach to the public consultation process

 

Mr Taylor has repeatedly offered UKOOG the opportunity to comment on the findings and answer questions about the fitness and enforcement of the community charter. UKOOG has consistently failed to respond to any of the senior Green Party politician’s requests.

The Green MEP has also written to Greg Clark MP urging the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to introduce a mandatory requirement for oil and gas firms to consult with local residents before drawing up plans to drill in their community.

On the findings, Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East a member of the European Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee, said:

"This report only serves to confirm what I, campaigners and residents across the country have long suspected: transparency and openness are dirty words in the oil and gas industry."

"It is appalling that fossil fuel firms across the South East have consistently failed to engage with local residents before drawing up plans to tear apart their communities and countryside with environmentally destructive fracking, acidisation and oil and gas drilling. It is hardly reassuring that in the tiny minority of instances where there has been limited public engagement, residents have been left frustrated at either not being listened to or not being given an opportunity to express their views fully. It's clear UKOOG's so-called 'Community Charter' is, at best, broken and widely flouted, at worst, little more an empty PR exercise."

"The findings expose a widespread problem with fracking and oil and gas drilling across England; local people are being excluded from decisions that not only deeply affect their communities but their local environment and the planet. It is little wonder there is a perception that oil and gas firms are in bed with the Government and, as such, feel they are above listening to the concerns of residents. Residents are sick of having these operations forced on them against their will."

"Ultimately, though, it seems obvious why oil and gas firms continue to avoid transparency and public engagement; the more transparent they are, the more obvious it becomes that their operations are not only destructive but a dangerous form of climate denial. The evidence couldn’t be clearer; fossil fuels must stay in the ground."

Three-quarters of South East residents 'not consulted' by oil and gas firms, despite industry charter

Three-quarters of South East residents 'not consulted' by oil and gas firms, despite industry charter

February 19th, 2018
  • Report reveals 77% of South East residents were not consulted, directly or indirectly, before an oil or gas firm prior to any phase of the development
  • Of those consulted, 84% said they weren't given the opportunity to fully express their views
  • When asked to rate their experience, 95% of respondents said they were unhappy with the oil and gas firms' approach to the public consultation process
  • "Report only serves to confirm what I, campaigners and residents across the country have long suspected: transparency and openness are dirty words in the oil and gas industry," says Keith Taylor MEP

More than three-quarters of residents quizzed about oil and gas drilling operations in their communities said they were not consulted by the firm responsible before a planning application was submitted, despite the industry body's 'Community Charter' stressing the importance of public engagement, according to research released today.

The survey, which was carried out by Keith Taylor Green MEP for the South East, asked residents in the affected communities in the region to comment on thirteen oil and gas drilling operations (and planned operations). The sites included Balcombe and Broadford Bridge in Sussex, Brockham and Leith Hill in Surrey, and plans for onshore drilling on the Isle of Wight.

Over 70% of respondents said at no point in the process were they consulted by the oil and gas firm operating, or planning to operate, a drilling site in their community.

The industry body representing oil and gas firms in Britain, UKOOG, claims, in its ‘Community Charter’, that “openness and transparency has to be at the heart of everything we do.”

A commitment in the charter, to which oil and gas firms sign up, includes the promise to “engage with local communities, residents and other stakeholders at each of the three stages of operations – exploration, appraisal or production, beginning in advance of any operations and in advance of any application for planning permission.”

The report, published today, finds:

  • 77% of residents were not consulted, directly or indirectly, before an oil or gas firm prior to any phase of the development
  • 68% of residents were not consulted, directly or indirectly, at any later stage either
  • In total, 71% of residents felt they were not consulted
  • Of the people with which the firm consulted, 84% said they weren't given the opportunity to fully express their views
  • When asked to rate their experience, 95% of respondents said they were unhappy with the oil and gas firms' approach to the public consultation process

 

Mr Taylor has repeatedly offered UKOOG the opportunity to comment on the findings and answer questions about the fitness and enforcement of the community charter. UKOOG has consistently failed to respond to any of the senior Green Party politician’s requests.

The Green MEP has also written to Greg Clark MP urging the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to introduce a mandatory requirement for oil and gas firms to consult with local residents before drawing up plans to drill in their community.

On the findings, Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East a member of the European Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee, said:

"This report only serves to confirm what I, campaigners and residents across the country have long suspected: transparency and openness are dirty words in the oil and gas industry."

"It is appalling that fossil fuel firms across the South East have consistently failed to engage with local residents before drawing up plans to tear apart their communities and countryside with environmentally destructive fracking, acidisation and oil and gas drilling. It is hardly reassuring that in the tiny minority of instances where there has been limited public engagement, residents have been left frustrated at either not being listened to or not being given an opportunity to express their views fully. It's clear UKOOG's so-called 'Community Charter' is, at best, broken and widely flouted, at worst, little more an empty PR exercise."

"The findings expose a widespread problem with fracking and oil and gas drilling across England; local people are being excluded from decisions that not only deeply affect their communities but their local environment and the planet. It is little wonder there is a perception that oil and gas firms are in bed with the Government and, as such, feel they are above listening to the concerns of residents. Residents are sick of having these operations forced on them against their will."

"Ultimately, though, it seems obvious why oil and gas firms continue to avoid transparency and public engagement; the more transparent they are, the more obvious it becomes that their operations are not only destructive but a dangerous form of climate denial. The evidence couldn’t be clearer; fossil fuels must stay in the ground."

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