Markwells Wood

South Holt Farm, Dean Lane End, Forestside, Rowlands Castle, West Sussex


Markwells Wood, is a designated ancient woodland in the South Downs National Park.  An exploratory well was drilled there in 2010 but has since been abandoned leaving an ugly collection of industrial debris in the midst of beautiful mature woodland.  UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) have applied for four additional wells, including a water injection well and a side-track well, to drill and to produce oil for 20 years.  The proposed method of drilling  involves the injection of acid, chemicals and water (acidisation) under pressure through the underground layers of chalk, into the limestone below.  

There are huge concerns about the proximity of the Aquifers to the Havant and Bedhampton Springs, which are important sources of drinking water for Portsmouth.  UKOG claim that the dangers to the water supply would be ‘negligible’.  The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA)  requested more detailed information about the water, traffic, ecology, noise, etc and UKOG have submitted a revised application; a decision from WSCC is expected in April 2017.

UKOG has submitted the additional information for comment. Details of the revised application have just been made available and new objections can be submitted until March 28th 2017.  Members of the public can inspect copies of the application (SDNP/16/04679/CM)The planning officer would like comments lodged by 28th March but will accept objections up to the decision day on May 11th.

Anyone wishing to make representations about this application should do so on-line from the website…/, or by email or in writing to the address details given below, quoting the case reference SDNP/16/04679/CM by 28 March 2017.

Please see the amended Air Quality Assessment (submitted 06.03.17), Transport Statement (submitted 06.03.17) and Environment Statement (various uploads submitted 06.03.17)

Thank you to everyone who objected to the application to drill/produce oil at Markwells Wood for 25 years.
If you object again this won't supersede any of the points raised in your original objection. All of your objections will be carried forward, but you have the right to object to the further information UKOG submitted on 6th March. They submitted their hydrogeological report, revised transport statement, report on emissions, light, noise and ecology.

Markwells Wood Watch fundraised £3500 for their own independent commissioning of a hydrogeological report and this should be available soon.


Further info:

Broadford Bridge

Wood Barn Farm, Adversane Lane, Billingshurst, West Sussex, RH14 9EB

Drill site entrance, Adversane Lane.

Drill site entrance, Adversane Lane.

KBFF (Keep Billingshurst Frack Free (KBFF) will be protesting and handing out information on Saturdays from March 4 2017 between 2pm - 4pm. They'll be at the corner of Adversane Lane near the site.  If you're free, come and show support.

Work is due to start on the  Broadford Bridge site (2 miles from Billingshurst) in Spring 2017 by Kimmeridge Oil & Gas Limited who is wholly owned subsidiary of UK Oil and Gas Limited (UKOG).  There is already site movement observed early March!

UKOG acquired 100% of PEDL 234 from Celtique Energy in August 2016..  Celtique constructed the well in Autumn 2014 but following a financial dispute with US partner Magellan, work stopped and the rig wasn’t mobilised.  

Residents in the surrounding villages are very concerned about the expansion of the polluting fossil fuel industry so close to home. The Weald is faulted and such cracks, if disturbed, could lead to water pollution or seismic tremors. Air and noise pollution, traffic increase and the industrialisation of the wider rural area are all of concern.  In the words of one resident "Oil development should not be taking place as it clearly affects climate change. We need to listen to the results of scientific studies and think of how such actions will affect future generations." See for independent journalism and updates.

On acquiring the licence, Stephen Sanderson, UKOG’s Executive Chairman, said:   “The BB-1 [Broadford Bridge] well is designed not only to test a geological mirror-image of the Horse Hill* Kimmeridge oil discovery, but, more significantly, to also seek to establish whether Kimmeridge Limestone oil is truly an extensive resource play.  “If so proven, given the sheer size of the PEDL234 Licence, our 100% interest, and the existence of further multiple identified drilling targets, the impact of BB-1 success would likely be transformational.  “Our wider strategy over the forthcoming 18-24 months aims to de-risk the overall Kimmeridge Limestone oil play, both commercially and geographically.  “Through the planned extended production testing, sidetrack and new well at Horse Hill, the goal is to establish that the Kimmeridge can be brought into commercial production.”  

KBFF is pushing ahead with awareness-raising actions in the surrounding villages and wider area.


Further info:

*Horse Hill, Surrey, RH6 0HN

Balcombe, West Sussex

Lower Stumble Wood, London Road, Balcombe, West Sussex

Lower Stumble, Balcombe

In 2013 Cuadrilla UK undertook exploratory drilling in Balcombe.  This was the first fracking site in the South of England and it resulted in a mass wave of anti-fracking protests.  Planning permission for flow testing at this site was approved by WSCC in May 2014.  So far Cuadrilla have not returned.  Planning requires that work must begin by 2 May 2017 and they must give residents 6 weeks notice before operations can begin.  There is also a stipulation that the site must be restored within six months of the start of work.

The approval of planning permission was challenged in an unsuccessful judicial review by Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association in November 2014.    

'Repower Balcombe' has since  been established by local residents in a bid  to generate the equivalent of 100% of Balcombe’s electricity demand through community-owned locally-generated renewable energy.