This month we have again been consulted by West Sussex County Council for another oil exploration site located in ancient woodland. This time the application is near Singleton in West Sussex – not that far from Markwells Wood.
Central Government has given a clear direction that ancient woodland should be protected from development but this seems to be regularly disregarded by planning decision makers. I have rather a foreboding feeling that this application will be dealt with in a similar way, particularly as there is already a small station within the woodland. This coupled with the recent decision at Markwells wood setting a clear precedence gives rather a worrying outlook.
This application at Singleton oil field will result in the loss another 0.4 hectares of ancient woodland. What is most frustrating about this kind of application is that the oil that is produced here will not even be enough to make an impact on oil prices in the UK. The amount that can be extracted is likely to produce enough for a few weeks worth of oil – is it really worth destroying our most valuable piece of heritage for this?