No Oil on Canvey Island part 1

A 14 Year Battle - Part 1

Castle Point Refineries Resistance Group Chronology of Events.

1965 – 2 million ton refinery on 232 acres. E.N.I. (Later United Refineries). Public Inquiry. Opposed by Essex County Council, Benfleet Urban District Council, Southend Council and numerous other objectors including the Refinery Resistance Group. Canvey UDC supported application after being flown to Italy by oil company to view their refineries. Inspector found against application but was over-ruled by Secretary of State, Richard Crossman, after taking decision to the Cabinet (see Crossman Diaries) E.N.I. allowed application to lapse probably as 2 million tons not big enough. Laid road to site and marked out tank positions.

1970 – 6 million ton refinery 325 acres. Occidental. November Public Inquiry. Opposed by Benfleet and Canvey U.D.C. and Thurrock Council and numerous other objectors including Refinery Resistance Group. Essex C.C. supported application with conditions. Inspector found for the application which was approved by Secretary of State Peter Walker.

1971 – 4 million ton refinery on 541 acres. E.N.I. (U.R.L.) Public Inquiry. Opposed by all the local authorities, residents’ associations and Refinery Resistance Group. Inspector found against application and was supported by Sec. of State Peter Walker who said that ‘ a site in a more easterly position would receive sympathetic consideration’.

1973 – 4 million ton refinery on 314 acres. U.R.L. (E.N.I. and Murphy Oil). Public Inquiry. Opposed by all local authorities, residents and Refinery Resistance Group. Inspector found against application but was over-ruled by the Sec. of State Geoffrey Rippon. Massive protest.

June – Occidental started work.


June – Flixborough explosion – Chemical cyclohexane stored on Canvey

September –Anthony Crossland announced inquiry into possible revocation of U.R.L. planning permission.


February – Inquiry into revocation. Castle Point District Council (formerly Benfleet and Canvey U.D.C.) and Essex C.C. support revocation together with other objectors and Refinery Resistance Group.

March – Occidental announces review of their refinery – all work ceased.


February – Inquiry into refusal of Castle Point D.C. to determine detail of U.R.L. refinery.

March – U.R.L. inspectors revocation report issued. Inspector recommends revocation. Sec. of State Peter Shore  announces examination of North Thameside Petro-Chemical industry before he will decide on revocation.

June – Sec. of State will not determine U.R.L. detail plans until Health and Safety Executive has reported.

 November – U.R.L. obtain judgement in the High Court stating that their 1965 planning permission is still valid – Essex C.C. who fought the case are not going to appeal.

To be continued . . .

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