An oil rig has been set up courtesy of Corallian Energy 6km away from Bournemouth beach. Visible from both piers, the rig will be drilling and plugging oil reserves for a minimum of three weeks.
Despite the short drilling period, the rig poses lasting damages to Poole Bay and the surrounding areas. If successful in the first drilling period, Corallian Energy will continue to extract oil once they have obtained their licence.
Bournemouth Council, consisting largely of Conservative members, will likely allow Corallian to obtain a license for extended drilling. The rig was hugely controversial and much of Dorset is considered a place of outstanding natural beauty, and Bournemouth Beach voted the UK’s favourite by TripAdvisor in 2018, both leading factors why the proposed wind farm in place of the rig was not approved. As Bournemouth Council seems keen to follow the money, it seems the rig will stay.
Over 20,000 people rely on local tourism for their income, so any spills or pollution from the rig could hugely damage the local economy. Hundreds of people have already protested the rig to no avail. Local Labour, Lib Dem, and Green parties have all spoken out against the rig, yet the Conservatives stand firm in their somewhat hypocritical stance on the drilling.
Local organisation Save Our Shores continues to protest against the drilling. Be sure to follow them on Facebook for future protests and meetings, but in the meantime, happy drilling- and visit the beach while it’s still blue.