Swanage Oil/Gas Rig

Swanage Protection Camp:


Three years ago planning permission was granted to drill in the beautiful Purbeck hills next to Swanage and we have fought this decision from the outset. With planning permission due to expire on the 3rd of December 2016, now is crunch time.

On the 23rd September, Dorset County Council was asked to confirm that they will follow the DEFRA / Natural England legal framework for protected species surveys, which in turn ensures that no work can commence prior to the expiry of the planning window,  we await a formal response.

The site at Swanage was occupied on 25th September 2016 to secure it against works that we believe would be illegal at this stage. The establishment of the camp is also to demonstrate the strength of feeling in the community that it is an unsuitable location for oil and gas drilling.

On the 26th September the operator InfraStrata announced that they would not drill at this site, not now, not ever. The door is open for another company to step in last minute however and we want to let them know, our resolve will prevent any company from success here.

The Environment Agency is to consider application PL\1575\13 (6/2013/0571) for drilling activities, they do not have to consult the public but do so when there is a high level of public concern. Please help show your concern and sign our petition


How Can You Help?


Pop by and say hello! The campaigners love the company and if you can, check out the daily wish list, you might be able to help bring something along that they need.

Wish List and Camp Updates:

Swanage Protection Camp

Help us fund our camp and campaign via Crowdfunder:


Sign Our Petition




In November 2013, Dorset County Council gave Infrastrata PLC permission for an exploratory oil/gas well at California Quarry, Panorama Road, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 2QS.

Our campaigners have been in correspondence with Dorset County Council and Swanage Town Council for the past three years in efforts to demonstrate that the plans are not acceptable for this site.

Our concerns include:

  • Risks to the heavily protected ecology of the planned Oil & Gas Well site in Swanage which sit on an (AONB)Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a (SNCI) Site of Nature Conservation Interest and is flanked by (SSSI) Sites of Special Scientific Interest, (SAC) Special Area of Conservation, (SSI) Sites of Specific Scientific, plus it is in the setting of the World Heritage Jurassic Coast.


  • The stripping of the World Heritage Status and the subsequent impact on the local economy, given that any well would clearly break UNESCO rules. See link to their views on oil and gas exploration in the setting of their sites: http://whc.unesco.org/en/extractive-industries/
  • There are two endangered and protected species known to be in close proximity to the site: Greater Horseshoe Bats and Great Crested Newts. There activity on site has not been properly investigated in accordance with Natural England and DEFRA guidance. This campaign group commissioned an ecological consultancy practice to advise what should have been done and what is therefore now outstanding prior consideration of any works being allowed on site. (see Darwin report attached) darwin_report
  • The access to the site requires HGV traffic route through Corfe Village and Swanage. It utilises a narrow, bendy and steep road that is in a residential area. Please see risk assessment associated for this road attached.The dangers are known to Swanage Town Council who commission the report but seemingly are ignoring its findings impact on the well proposal and the existing use of the road by vehicles serving the quarry.road-safety-risk-assessment-1
  • Lack of consultation re emergency planning and evacuation of the town of Swanage which entirely sits within the 2km exclusion zone. Swanage is in a valley down wind of the proposed well. No emergency plans have been presented to the residents to explain if and how they would evacuate in the case of a major gas leak or well blow-out. One of the sites nearest neighbors is Durlston – Kids Love Nature school for 2 to 4 year olds. Again, there has been no engagement with them on emergency procedures.
  • The Jurassic Coast is itself a fault line, there appears to be no consideration to the risk of prompting seismic activity as a result of well stimulation techniques in the area. Oklahoma has shown the world what can happen in seismically dormant areas when the oil and gas industry inject high volumes of liquid into faulted geology.
  • BP previously explored the Durlston Head gas reserve and drilling mud was reported to have escaped into the sea indicating a geological fault. There are also known gas seeps from the cliff at Durlston and under the water which again indicate that the reserve is potentially dangerously faulted.Serious questions remain unanswered about what will happen to these if the gas reserve is put under pressure.


The associated planning applications are here:


Temporary planning permission for the construction of a well site, with associated portable cabins for the storage of equipment and for staff accommodation, the drilling of an exploratory borehole, undertaking of production tests and retaining the site and wellhead valve assembly gear for evaluation of a conventional hydrocarbon reservoir.



Underground drilling corridor of an exploratory borehole to be drilled for oil and gas from California Quarry, Panorama Road, Swanage.


Infrastrata page on their P1918 Licence Area:


Meeting minutes:


Material Issues For Planning:

These material issues were included in the ‘officers report to the planning committee’.  All should have been a point of discussion for the planning committee.   Looking at all the material issues, they are supposed to weigh up ‘with an open mind’ whether that overall the impacts are weighted to approve or object to the application.    


  • whether the proposals should be considered as EIA development


  • traffic impacts including safety and amenity implications


  • visual impact and the location within the Dorset AONB and Heritage Coast


  • impact on Durlston Country Park


  • impact on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site


  • impact on tourism


  • impact on Rights of Way


  • noise and related impacts on tranquillity and residential amenity


  • groundwater contamination


  • light Pollution


  • air quality issues


  • biodiversity impacts and potential for impacts on SAC, SSSI and SNCI


  • the potential impact on neighbouring holiday let and camping business