The long-awaited Judicial Review of Surrey County Council’s decision-making over the planning permission for 20 years oil production at Horse Hill took place on 17 and 18 November.
Over two days, in a virtual court hearing hosted online, claimant Sarah Finch’s Counsel Marc Willers QCset out her case, that the Environmental Impact Assessment should have included an assessment of the carbon emissions that would be released when the oil from Horse Hill is burned. And the lawyers for Surrey County Council, Horse Hill Developments Ltd and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government argued that this was not necessary.
The judge said: “It’s a very interesting case, a very important case”. He is now deliberating and we expect his judgment within the next few weeks.
Case could have wide-ranging implications for future carbon-intense proposals
Press release from Friends of the Earth
A legal challenge to Surrey County Council’s decision to allow 20 years of oil drilling and production to take place near Gatwick airport begins in the High Court today.
The judicial review is brought by Redhill resident Sarah Finch, supported by the Weald Action Group, an umbrella for local groups campaigning against the extraction of oil and gas in the South of England.
Frack Free Surrey – along with the Weald Action Group and Back Off Horse Hill – has produced a short film about our campaign against the oil developments at Horse Hill.
The video exposes oil company UK Oil & Gas Plc’s plans for massive expansion of oil production across South East England – including footage of CEO Stephen Sanderson talking of the potential for “several thousand” wells in the region.
Last year, UKOG got planning permission for 20 years of commercial oil production at Horse Hill – a decision which is being challenged in the courts this week. They also have applications pending for developments at Dunsfold (to be decided by Surrey County Council on 27 November) and the Isle of Wight.
The film also shows the strength of community opposition to this destructive industry. Please watch and share!
Sarah Finch speaks to XR activists at Horse Hill in September 2020
The environmental organisation Friends of the Earth and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government have been granted permission to participate in a local campaigners’ legal challenge over oil production at Horse Hill, near Gatwick in Surrey.
Campaigner Sarah Finch is bringing a Judicial Review of Surrey County Council’s decision to grant an onshore oil company planning permission for four new oil wells and 20 years of oil production. Friends of the Earth had applied to make a legal intervention to support the challenge; the Secretary of State applied to be joined in order to oppose the challenge.
UK Government energy policy and local planning rules on onshore oil developments need to change, say campaigners.
The Weald Action Group has published a briefing Why we don’t need more onshore oil in the UK, which refutes claims made by the onshore oil industry that their developments are needed to maintain energy security, that UK oil has a lower carbon footprint than imported oil, that they provide local jobs and that they are needed for plastic production.
Campaigners are celebrating as a cohort of onshore oil firms have been forced to walk away from the controversial proposed oil drilling site at Leith Hill in Surrey.
The consortium of UK Oil & Gas Plc (UKOG), Angus Energy and Egdon Resources Ltd has decided to relinquish the licence after concluding that “the required long-reach/shallow target-depth wells are neither technically viable or economically feasible”.
The Weald Action Group is holding an online art sale to raise funds for the judicial review brought by Sarah Finch challenging Surrey County Council’s decision to allow a massive expansion of oil drilling at Horse Hill.
Contributing artists including Ackroyd and Harvey, Merlyn Chesterman RE and Surrey-based Kiri Jones and Ali Tomlin are taking part in the sale, organised by Ann Stewart, which is found at artatwag.artweb.com
Work on sale includes paintings, woodcuts, photographic prints, ceramics and glassware, at prices ranging from £25 to £1,000. Artists will donate 33% of the sale price – and in some cases 100% – to the cause.
Two fathers in their 50s have occupied a drill rig at the Horse Hill site, in protest at the plans to scale up oil production at the site.
According to a press release from Extinction Rebellion, the two men entered the site in the early hours of this morning (10 October), using an access ladder to climb the rig to a platform approximately 15 metres above the ground. They have hung a banner from the rig saying “No More Oil” and are refusing to come down from the platform.