Campaigners battling to halt a controversial oil drilling operation in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds have raised £10,000 to mount a legal challenge.
Egdon Resources have received permission from Lincolnshire County Council to drill for oil at a site at Biscathorpe near Donington on Bain.
Last Saturday, more than 100 people - including local families, musicians and farmers - braved heavy rain to stage a protest at the drill site.
Among their objections, they say the site is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is close to the River Bain, a fragile chalk stream.
They say Saturday’s event - ‘Party in the field’ - was a day of community solidarity and fundraising, organised by a group of Wolds residents.
Previously, residents had attended two open community meetings in May and June after being ‘horrified’ that LCC had voted to approve the drill - despite receiving over 500 objections, in writing and online.
They decided to launch a legal challenge to get a Judicial Review of the decision.
The community has raised enough in donations to hit their half-way target of £12,000 and have instructed a lawyer to begin proceedings.
Elizabeth Williams from community campaign Frack Free Lincs said: “Egdon Resources have signalled that they intend to start drilling for deep sandstone oil reserves at the heart of the Wolds, the only AONB in the East Midlands.
“Whether or not this drill means fracking, it means certain environmental degradation, and harm to human and wildlife habitats.
“Ultimately, we will surely lose the AONB status and the chalkstreams will be irreparably contaminated”.
Campaigners say over 90% of the community responding to a survey (about one third of residents so far) are against any oil or gas drilling.
Mathilda Dennis, life long resident and organic farmer in Donington-On-Bain said: “It’s amazing all these local people are standing up for our rights to say no to oil and gas drilling in this precious corner of Lincolnshire”
Egdon Resources deny any allegation of fracking and say Government policy is ‘clear on the need’ for indigenous fossil fuels.
Speaking earlier this year, a spokesperson said: “We’ll continue to work with local people to minimise any disruption and, of course, confirm to all regulations and obligations in terms of protecting the environment.”
•To donate to the campaign, visit https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/sos-biscathorpe-fomad-funding/