Drilling starts 10 miles west of the Needles

Credit: SOS Save Our Shores / Facebook

An oil rig has started drilling 10 miles to the west of the Needles, in Poole Bay, between the iconic Island rocks and another of Britain’s most famous coastal landmarks, Old Harry Rocks.

The rig will spend a month drilling from a 340ft high platform in the sea between the Island and Dorset, an activity that is expected to spark a storm of protest from environmental campaigners.

A campaign group has claimed 6,700 tonnes of chemicals will be dumped into the sea during drilling. Corallian Energy, the oil company responsible for the exploratory rig, have said the chemicals discharged into the sea pose are no danger to the environment.