11/05/10 Nodding donkeys to stay

Nodding donkeys to stay as search for oil under a disused RAF airfield continues

Drilling tests searching for oil under a disused RAF airfield in Lincolnshire have been allowed to continue.

Cirque Energy (UK) Limited has until March 31, 2011, to complete its investigations near Fiskerton after Lincolnshire County Council granted the company more time.

The energy business had been required to stop work at Fiskerton Airfield on March 31, 2010.

But the search at the Reepham and Fiskerton No 1 wells can proceed following yesterday’s decision by the county council’s planning and regulation committee.

Cirque Energy will be required to make a separate application if it finds oil and wants to expand operations.

Committee chairman Councillor Ian Fleetwood said: “I have been to Fiskerton Parish Council meetings and they have not registered any issues with me.”

Mr Fleetwood was re-elected as a West Lindsey District Council member last week and added nodding donkeys had not been a campaign trail issue.

Temporary planning permission allowing one exploratory bore hole to be drilled was first granted in July 1997. This was extended further in March 1998 and in 2002 permission to allow oil production was given to Cirque Energy.

The nodding donkeys were later left unused for five years and work has just recently been carried out to prepare for future testing.

Ministry of Defence (MoD) land manager Defence Estates and West Lindsey District Council made no objections to the application during the consultation period.

Fiskerton district councillor at West Lindsey Meg Davidson said rising oil prices could make the business near the village “economically viable” for its owners.