The government is launching a review of the Environmental Impact Assessment legislation and practices for offshore oil and gas after conceding judicial review proceedings brought against drilling in Poole Bay.
Neil Garrick-Maidment, the Chief Executive of The Seahorse Trust, challenged decisions by the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Oil and Gas Authority to authorise the drilling of an exploratory borehole at the Colter Appraisal Well in the English Channel. The area is home to long-snouted and short-snouted seahorses. The works were carried out in early 2019, but the proceedings concerned the lawfulness of the legislation and practices.
Following the grant of permission at a contested hearing before Mrs Justice Lieven on 24th July 2019, the Secretary of State agreed that the claim should be allowed. The government accepted that the Offshore Petroleum Production and Pipe-lines (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1999 do not fully transpose Articles 9 and 11 of the EIA Directive which concern publication of the decision and access to justice. Publication practices would be changed and the government will carry out a detailed review of the regulations and associated working practices.
Richard Harwood QC appeared for Mr Garrick-Maidment, instructed by Susan Ring of Harrison Grant.