Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton
Minerals and Waste
Policy 30: The Mineral Planning Authorities will grant planning permission for operations for exploration for oil and natural gas, except within the New Forest Heritage Area, provided they are satisfied that:
(i) the proposed development is sited within the area of search at the location where it would have the least environmental impact; and
(ii) the proposed operations would not cause any permanent harm to the local environment or the nature conservation or archaeological interest of the area, or unduly affect the amenities of local residents or have any other unacceptable impact; and
(iii) the proposal provides for the restoration and subsequent aftercare of any land disturbed as a result of the operations, whether or not oil or gas is found.
Any permission granted for such operations will be without prejudice to the consideration of any further proposals for appraisal or production of oil or natural gas.
Policy 31: Following the drilling of an initial exploratory borehole, development either in connection with an appraisal programme or of facilities for producing, processing or transporting oil or natural gas will be permitted provided that the Mineral Planning Authority is satisfied that:
(i) the development is necessary to confirm geological structures or to confirm or exploit the oil or gas resource, and the need for the development outweighs any adverse environmental impact or other detrimental effect that would be likely to be caused by it; and
(ii) the proposed location of the development is the most suitable taking into account environmental, geological and technical factors; and
(iii) the development would not give rise to any unacceptable environmental impact; and
(iv) the proposal is consistent with either an agreed overall scheme or a production strategy for the area.
Policy 32: The Mineral Planning Authorities will only permit development in connection with an appraisal programme if it is within the framework of an agreed overall scheme which should, so far as is possible, provide for an appraisal of the full extent of the oil or gas reservoir.
Policy 33: The Mineral Planning Authorities will not permit development for commercial production of oil or natural gas in advance of the completion of a full appraisal programme for the oil or gas field which should, where appropriate, include consideration of exploratory and/or appraisal programmes in any adjacent oil or gas fields.
Policy 34: Within the New Forest Heritage Area permission will not be granted other than in exceptional circumstances for development in connection with the exploration for or the appraisal, production, processing or transportation of oil or natural gas.
5.67 Detailed policies for oil and gas exploration and production were set out in the County Council's 1987 publication 'Oil in Hampshire'. Those policies have now been reviewed and included in an amended form in this Plan.
5.68 County Structure Plan Policy MW8 states that permission will normally be granted for development in connection with the appraisal, production, processing or transportation of oil or gas provided certain criteria are met. However, Policy MW4 of the County Structure Plan states that within the New Forest Heritage Area permission will not normally be granted for development in connection with exploration for, or appraisal, production, processing or transportation of oil or gas. The County Council considers that there are likely to be particular problems in respect of any proposals for oil or gas development within the New Forest Heritage Area because of its nature conservation and landscape importance and that there should therefore be a strong presumption against such development in that area. Where it would be feasible to reach oil or gas resources beneath the New Forest Heritage Area by deviated drilling from sites outside the Heritage Area, the County Council would in principle consider this preferable to the establishment of drilling sites within the Heritage Area.