§ Mr. Simon Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if a reservoir appraisal, as outlined in appendix B of the planning circular 2/85, has been carried out in the case of the proposed Hook island, Poole harbour, development; and if he will make a statement;
(2) if the procedure outlined in appendix A of planning circular 2/85 has been invoked in the case of the proposed Hook island, Poole harbour, development; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Yeo
[holding answer 14 November 1991]: Appendix B of DOE circular 2/85 explains the three stages 164W of onshore hydrocarbon development: exploration, appraisal and production. Appendix A of DOE circular 2/85 explains the Department of Energy's licensing procedures which apply to all oil and gas development. BP carried out offshore appraisal drilling in Poole bay in 1988–89 following consultations with local interests and the completion of an environmental assessment.
Following successful appraisal drilling to determine the extent of the Wytch Farm oilfield, BP consulted widely on various development concepts. Its preferred option is the construction of an artificial island large enough to accommodate a well site and drilling facilities on which a conventional land-type drilling rig could be operated. Because the island would be in navigable waters, it is necessary for the construction of the island and the works associated with it to have the authority of Parliament. However, the Bill provides that the area of the sea bed on which BP proposes to construct the island will becone part of Dorset for planning purposes. This means that, if the Bill is granted consent, no development will take place unless planning approval is obtained from Dorset county council, or the Secretary of State on appeal.