Information on Horse Hill Developments Limited exploration site

Closed 3 Sep 2018

Opened 4 Sep 2017


The Environment Agency is the environmental regulator for onshore oil and gas operations in England.  We ensure that people and the environment remain protected by requiring operators to hold environmental permits that set out legally binding conditions.

Horse Hill Developments Limited have held a permit allowing them to explore for oil reserves at the Horse Hill site since August 2014.  They have recently sought a variation to drill a new borehole, drill a side track from the original borehole and carry out flow testing to understand the long term economic viability of the oil & gas reserves.

Horse Hill Developments Limited have also applied for a standard rules permit to allow the storage and handling of crude oil as it removed from underground prior to it being transported off site. 

Standard Rules permits are common across regulated industry and maintain high levels of environmental protection. The permits set out the required standards that operators must meet for the management of extractive waste from drill and core activities.

Neither of these permits allow hydraulic fracturing. Any proposal for hydraulic fracturing will require bespoke permitting, including site specific risk assessment and full public consultation.

Before we can issue an environmental permit we need to be satisfied that the environmental risks associated with exploring for onshore oil and gas are managed and controlled through proper design and management of the drilling and exploration site.

As with all decisions on whether to issue environmental permits we assess a company’s proposals to ensure they meet strict requirements. If an activity poses an unacceptable risk to the environment, the activity will not be permitted.

The Permits

We have issued a variation to an environmental permit for a mining waste operation (ref: EPR/BB3300XG/V004) and a standard rules permit for an installation activity (ref EPR/SP3339YS) for the following facility:

Horse Hill-1 Well Site
Horse Hill
H6 0HN
NGR: TQ 25254 43600

The permit documents are included below for your reference. We are providing copies of the permits for information and awareness purposes only (this information is not intended to generate comments as it is not a statutory consultation).

We have also included below a document providing responses to some of the questions we are frequently asked about the use and function of standard rules permits, particularly when used in the oil and gas industry. 

Planning permission

Horse Hill Developments Limited has to separately apply for planning permission from the local Minerals planning Authority. No activity can take place at any site until all relevant permits and permissions are in place.


  • Recreational and commercial river users
  • Fishing clubs and representative associations
  • Members of the public with an interest in the river, the species and conservation
  • Businesses
  • Charities
  • Statutory organisations
  • NGOs
  • Members of the public
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Local councils
  • Academics
  • The nuclear industry
  • All water abstractors
  • Net fishing license holders
  • River based salmon angling owners/fishing clubs/organisations
  • Individual migratory salmonid licence holders
  • Business that buy salmon/supported by salmon net and rod fishing
  • Angling trade contacts
  • National based fishery, conservation and landowner organisations
  • Government family organisations
  • IDBs
  • Local authorities
  • District and parish councils
  • Environmental bodies
  • Land owners
  • Farming associations
  • Drainage associations
  • RFCCs
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Water companies
  • Members of the public
  • Recreational and commercial river users
  • Metal recycling trade associations and site operators
  • Operators
  • UK Border Force


  • Waste
  • Permits
  • Environmental permitting