Oil rig is an unacceptable risk for Poole Bay

Oil Rig at Poole Bay © Simon Cripps 

Despite secrecy over its operations, Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) has learnt that the Corallian Colter Exploratory oil rig is arriving in Dorset any day now to commence 38 days of drilling for oil. DWT has been a consultee to the proposal for the drilling in Poole Bay since February 2018 and has led the call for the protection of this highly sensitive and valuable area of Dorset’s sea.

Despite secrecy over its operations, Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) has learnt that the Corallian Colter Exploratory oil rig is arriving in Dorset any day now to commence 38 days of drilling for oil.  DWT has been a consultee to the proposal for the drilling in Poole Bay since February 2018 and has led the call for the protection of this highly sensitive and valuable area of Dorset’s sea. 

DWT has made numerous comments on concerns over impacts to our important habitats and wildlife.  Whilst our main concerns have been considered and the Environmental Statement has been revised accordingly, drilling is still going ahead.  Read our first response below. 

Following DWT’s calls for changes to the drilling operation, the most contaminated cuttings will now be disposed of onshore and the 38 days of exploratory drilling will now occur during the winter to reduce impacts on migratory species, spring and summer spawning of fish and on foraging seabirds.

Another concern DWT has is that the drilling may over-run as the recommended 38 days of drilling between 1st November 2018 to 28th February 2019 will have passed by the time the drilling starts in the coming days and weeks.

Emma Rance, DWT’s Marine Conservation Officer said, “Despite our requests, DWT continue to be worried about the remaining drill cuttings that will be discharged onto the seabed with the potential to impact species within the vicinity.  Studland Bay which is only 4km away from the drill site is a known breeding ground for seahorses.  Short-snouted seahorses (protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981) are recorded within the licenced drilling area in Poole Bay.”

Dr Simon Cripps, Chief Executive of Dorset Wildlife Trust said, “We worry about the potential risk of pollution to wildlife, people and local businesses from a range of chemicals that will purportedly be discharged into the sea, in such a highly sensitive and valuable natural environment.  Poole Bay is not the place for such activities.  The time, effort, money and research necessary to conduct such a project would be better used on renewable energy alternatives and not drilling in such a sensitive area.”

For more information on the Environmental Statement, please visit:

The Environmental Statement Summary 

Information on key concerns