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Possible Impacts of Fossil Fuel Extraction on the Isle of Wight
Our studies and investigation have convinced us that the legacy of the risks of fossil fuel extraction;  on our health, our water and land resources, our ecology and environment, our tourism and local economy, will far outweigh any individual short term economic benefits.

1. Health and Environmental Considerations

Stephen Sanderson, UKOG Executive Chairman, has explained that due to the natural decline in flow rate of modern horizontal oil wells, a series of multiple back to back well sites need to be created. This ‘industrialised process’ is necessary for economic viablility. Therefore we can probably expect attendant health and environmental impacts equivalent to major industrialisation in urban environments.

Reliable research,  reports and information from across the globe indicate additionally we may experience..


  • Loss or destruction of pathways, habitats, foraging sites and species migration routes and subterranean pathways.

  • Seismic shifts and earthquakes from; drilling in geologically unstable regions, underground fracturing by explosive charges, high pressure injection of acids and extraction fluids, well decommissioning and underground waste disposal.

  • Air pollution from chemicals, silica and diesel fumes from sites and increased HGV traffic, noise pollution from drilling, traffic congestion and damage to already overstretched roads.

  • Possible water pollution of farmland, ecosystems, species habitats; due to blowouts at well heads releasing oil and drilling chemicals,  run off from surface work, lack of compliance with safety regulations, human error, accidental chemical or flowback spills on the surface, from vehicles on roads and at well pads.

  • Decommissioned wells can also be filled with flowback fluids and waste materials, under pressure to prevent strata shifts once oil is removed. Improperly abandoned boreholes and wells can provide preferential pathways for groundwater or contaminant movement which may result in contamination of soil and groundwater.

  • Leaking Wells.The industry admits that the underground structures will degrade over time. Therefore allowing migration of unharvested gas, oil, and pollutants into the strata and to the surface. Methane gas is up to 40 times more harmful as a hydrocarbon that CO2.

  • Leaking Oil Pipelines in the UK and across the globe - there are countless reports of oil seepage from damaged pipelines into rivers, in soils and into aquifers and drinking water.

  • Light pollution from oilfields lit at night until final decommissioning post production.

  • Methane gas release from producing wellsites, venting and flaring. Methane is up to 40 times more harmful as a hydrocarbon that CO2.

  • Increased incidents of pulmonary, cardiac, endocrine disorders and immune system illnesses in adults and children. Increase in some types of cancers (particularly children) in residential areas within close proximity (5kms) to multiple well sites.* (*Current health statistics and results of 10 year medical research from gas and oilfield states in the USA and Australia used for this statement)

2. Economic Considerations

It is probable that economically..

The oil and gas industry will gain from extraction of reserves (due to cost the taxpayer an extra £1.1bn a year for the next 10 years, maybe more, whilst benefiting from the most generous tax cuts ever granted),

It is debateable whether

  • Investors in the fossil fuel industry will gain, since there has been huge fluctuation and loss of conviction in investments with companies being  bankrupted or discovered to be part of a PONZI scheme.

  • Landowners will gain, since given fees for access and creation of well pad sites may incur attendant community disapproval and upheaval over the 2 to 30 year period. This is without guarantee of cleanup if environmental impact occurs and land is polluted particularly if the company is bankrupted .

  • Local communities may receive payments since these are sugested as a pilot scheme only if permitting Hydraulic Fracking.
    Also Shale Wealth Fund if it happens,  is also only for permitting Hydraulic Fracking and not unconventional wells claimed as conventional drilling. FFIOW considers this fund to be a divisive bribe which would be impractical and will divide communities. See Newsletter 1 page 2 for our response.


  • Promised local employment opportunities  may or may not materialise since the few locally employed will probably be for the short term initial exploration phase, (12 for Arreton estimated by UKOG).

  • Other industries, providing chemicals, silica, cement, haulage companies, local construction industry may be sourced from the island.

  • Ferry Companies may be comfortable to manage the huge numbers of HGV and super trucks needed for the duration of the sites transporting chemicals and materials to the sites and toxic waste materials from the sites.

  • Profits for owners of rental accommodation, pubs, food and drink suppliers may or may not be more than minimally enhanced.

However it is probable that losers will be..

  • IOW Residents living with polluting oil field environments, possible water and increased air pollution, damaged roads and industrialised rural areas where once there were green spaces. Currently there is no regulated process for compensation from industry for communities or farms affected by environmental impacts during production and once wells and sites are decommissioned.

  • Local species of flora & fauna.

  • Possible NHS further stress may be incurred from long term effects of industry related illnesses and accidents for workers and in populations close to sites.

  • Tourism and providers of Eco tourism, activity tourism, seasonal businesses may be impacted by a fall in tourist numbers due to the IOW image changing from a green, eco-friendly vacation spot to an industrialised island.

  • Residents' depreciation of house prices may occur in areas within 5 km range of drilling zones. Real estate searches by some estate agents are now in place for property proximity to extraction sites. Insurance exceptions for damage caused by the industry on farmland, water courses and buildings, have been introduced by some companies, (NFU currently has exceptions).

  • Local producers on farmland close to oilfields may be affected by pollution and environmental impacts in entire processes.

  • Farmers' loss of organic farming status may be possible for those whose land has been drilled under for extraction of fuels  or re-injection of waste.

  • The general public whose tax money will be used to prop up government public funds lost in business and fuel tax cuts for the industry and in support of industry investments.

  • The renewables sector who have estimate 27,000 jobs are already at risk, with a  loss of millions of pounds of government subsidies and axing of green initiative deals.

And Finally Gas and oil prices will not fall.

Committee for Climate Change report states that 'continued reliance on unabated gas-fired generation carries the risk of electricity bills for the typical household being up to £600 higher than under a low-carbon power system over the next decades.'


We have no assurance that any UK fossil fuels will be extracted for use to secure UK supplies rather than being exported for profit.


Camarthen Oil Pipeline Spill, October 2016

Ohio River USA
Ohio River USA

Flowback escape

Air pollution from drilling
Air pollution from drilling

Deisel fumes at well pad drillsite


Flowback Trucks USA

Run off pipe
Run off pipe

Horse Hill Exploratory site

Loss of Dark Sky
Loss of Dark Sky

24 hour lit sites

Oil spill from pipeline
Oil spill from pipeline

Oil spill from pipeline Africa

Russia 2016
Russia 2016

Surface explosion from oil pipeline