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1994: Royal approval for oil drilling at Windsor
The Queen has given the go ahead for oil drilling to take place in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Exploratory work could get underway as early as next summer at the popular tourist spot.

The move comes after studies showed there could be up to 1bn of oil lying beneath the castle, in Berkshire, which is still being repaired after fire ripped through it two years ago.

Canadian Dr Desmond Oswald and his wife Olive, who own Canuk Explorations which is behind the plan, estimate there is a one-in-eight chance of finding enough oil to fill 100 million barrels.

The drilling is expected to reach a depth of 300 m (984 ft) and would take place at Home Park which is situated about 500 m (1,640 ft) from the castle wall.

New technology means if oil is discovered it can be drilled underground from a well positioned about one mile away (1.6 km).

It is bound to lead to Windsor Great Park being turned almost into a second Dallas
Dennis Outwin, mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead
There is mounting opposition from local councillors who fear the plans could harm the area and turn it into a Berkshire version of "Dallas".

Dennis Outwin, mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead, is enraged by the plans.

"I do not believe you can get 100 million barrels of oil just through a small pipeline," he told the BBC.

"In my opinion, it is bound to lead to Windsor Great Park being turned almost into a second Dallas."

Conservationists are also opposed to the plans.

A spokesman for Greenpeace said areas of historical and natural heritage must be preserved for the nation.

But Dr Oswald said people had nothing to fear.

"The surface ground will be restored to its original condition and there would be no surface manifestation what so ever that anything had taken place at the site," he said.

Berkshire County Council has yet to make a decision on the controversial proposals.

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Windsor Castle
Conservationists oppose plans



In Context
"Dallas-on-Thames" - as it was dubbed in the media - was approved by Berkshire County Council less than a month later.

It was assured noise and pollution would be kept to a minimum from the 18 m (60 ft) high mobile drilling rig and 366 m (1,200 ft) borehole.

The Council for the Protection of Rural England said the drilling would damage the environment, increase traffic and harm the parkland, which is in the protected Green Belt.

The first exploration well was due to be sunk in the summer of 1996.

But when the six-year licence held by Canuk Explorations neared expiry that year, the Department of Trade and Industry, did not renew it.

The DTI gave no reasons for its decision.

Stories From 6 Dec


 
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