More than 200 MPs back Divest Parliament campaign – but where are the Surrey MPs?

Press release from Surrey Green Party

A campaign to get the Parliamentary Pension Fund to divest from fossil fuels has won support from 200 MPs – but none of the Surrey MPs has signed up yet.

The list includes Conservative MPs from around the country and Surrey Greens are urging the 11 MPs in Surrey to jump on board.

“I’m in Poland this week for the UN climate change conference,” said Jonathan Essex, Chair of the Surrey Federation of local Green Parties (1). “We’re hearing how carbon emissions threaten the mass extinction of species and the collapse of our civilisations. It is vital that we take investment away from fossil fuels right now. There is little time left before we descend into truly catastrophic climate change.”

Many people in Surrey have signed a petition to call on MPs to sign the pledge to get the Parliamentary Pension Fund to divest from fossil fuels. Divest Surrey has also been campaigning to get the Surrey County Council Pension Fund to divest from fossil fuels, but instead the Fund has actually been increasing its direct fossil fuel investments.

“I’ve asked to meet Crispin Blunt to ask him to sign the pledge, and I know other MPs around Surrey have been approached by constituents. It would be a shame if Surrey MPs lagged behind their more far-sighted colleagues”, said Jonathan Essex.


  1. Jonathan Essex is a Green county councillor and Reigate and Banstead district councillor. He travelled to Poland by train and bus to give a presentation on his new report Unlocking the Job Potential of Zero Carbon: A summary of the case studies for the United Kingdom, Hungary and the Republic of Ireland.


Horse Hill oil site discounted in earthquake assessment – “surprising omission”

The Weald Action Group has criticised the Oil and Gas Authority for disregarding the Horse Hill oil site when deciding if 14 earthquakes in Surrey were natural.

The OGA has released a report saying that the quakes, which started on April 1st this year, were not caused by human activity. Read the rest of this entry >>

Divestment campaigners stage peaceful protest at Surrey Pension Fund meeting

Divestment campaigners Leonard Beighton and Steve McDonald at County Hall

Divestment campaigners Leonard Beighton and Steve McDonald with sign reading ‘Surrey Pension Fund increases investment in climate wrecking fossil fuels’

Campaigners who have been urging Surrey County Council’s Pension Fund managers to take investments out of fossil fuels staged a peaceful protest at their regular meeting this week (Friday 16 November 16), causing the meeting to be temporarily adjourned.

Steve McDonald, of Divest Surrey, said: “I’m sick and tired of the Pension Fund Committee ignoring the urgent need to move away from dirty and polluting investments. We’ve been politely attending the committee and asking questions they fail to answer for two years and we now feel stronger action is needed.”

Surrey Pension Fund has £145 million directly invested in the fossil fuel industry. Across the UK, councils are investing more than £16bn of workers’ pensions in fossil fuel companies. However, the divestment movement is growing and 13 councils have now divested from fossil fuels.

Green Surrey Councillor Jonathan Essex, who has written to the Pension Fund Committee Chair, Cllr Tim Evans, said: “Surrey Pension Fund has moved some of its funds into low carbon technologies. But it has actually increased the money it has in fossil fuel extraction. We’re running out of time. These fossil fuel investments are both tainted and high risk.”

Divest Surrey campaigners attended the meeting at County Hall in Kingston and asked questions including when the Pension Fund Committee would move money away from fossil fuels. They challenged the Committee on its policy of engaging with fossil fuel companies to encourage them to reduce their production of carbon-based fuels, rather than just divesting money away from them.

When they failed to get any justification for this, or commitment to divesting, the campaigners refused to leave the meeting. The meeting was then temporarily adjourned and an emotional exchange of views took place. Having made their point, the campaigners left peacefully of their own accord.

Read the rest of this entry >>

Horse Hill drill plans: Public meeting 23 October

Public meeting – 23 Oct, 7.45pm
Catholic Church Hall, 4 Vicarage Lane, Horley RH6 8AR

Come and hear about the new plans for four more oil wells, one waste water well and 20 years of full production at Horse Hill drill site. Impacts include air pollution, more HGVs on the roads, acidisation being used to extract oil, noise – and all in an area recently subject to an earthquake swarm.

Read the rest of this entry >>

Don’t fast-track fracking. Let Communities Decide

Time is running short to engage with two important consultations, one on Permitted Development and one on Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). The deadline for both is 11.45 p.m. on October 25th.

A campaigner has written a “Guide to Contacting MP’s and Councillors about Changes to Shale Gas Planning Applications” which we reduce below.

Read the rest of this entry >>

Major expansion plans for Horse Hill

Horse Hill Developments Ltd submitted a proposal to develop four more wells at its Horse Hill site, increasing the size of the site by a quarter and meaning more noise and HGV movements.

They say the proposals would “significantly change the landscape” and have “an adverse effect upon valued landscapes”.

Read a summary of the plans on Drill or Drop

Read the Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report on the Horse Hill Developments Ltd website


Public meeting

Surrey Green Party and Weald Action Group are hosting a public meeting to discuss the plans and how to oppose them.

It’s at 7.45pm on Tuesday 23 October at the Catholic Church Hall, 4 Vicarage Lane, Horley RH6 8AR





Say no to fast-track fracking

The government has two consultations running until October 25, 2018, which aim to fast-track fracking across England.

They want to treat shale gas exploration as ‘permitted development’, which means there is no need to apply for planning application to do it.

Although we do not have fracking for shale gas in Surrey, there is a high likelihood that this weakening of regulation of shale gas proposals will be extended to cover shale oil, which we do have, and acid stimulation, which is the technique used to extract it.

There is strong opposition to the government’s attempt to undermine local democracy and cut local residents out of decision-making on shale gas proposals.

At least 20 Conservative MPs are planning to rebel.

Keith Taylor, the Green MEP for South East England, has produced a briefing to help individuals respond to the consultations.


Horse Hill: flow testing, eviction, dispute over extent of site

UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) has been flow testing at Horse Hill since July, testing oil flow from the Portland rock formation. They say the results have ‘significantly exceeded’ their expectations, and claim that the Portland “could achieve a forecast sustainable initial 24/7 pumped rate of around 362 barrels of oil per day when full scale long-term production commences”. (see press release)

Read the rest of this entry >>

Campaigners celebrate as Europa Oil and Gas gives up bid to drill on Leith Hill

The long running and high profile campaign against oil drilling at Leith Hill in Surrey is celebrating success after Europa Oil and Gas announced it was pulling out of the site.

The announcement followed a decision by the Forestry Commission not to renew the lease, which expires on 12 September. Campaigners including the Green MEP Keith Taylor had been keeping up the pressure on the Forestry organisation not to renew in line with its environmental commitments.

“This is fantastic news,” said Lucy Barford on behalf of A Voice for Leith Hill.  Read the rest of this entry >>

Partial victory for oil campaigners fighting UKOG injunction – appeal being prepared

Press release from the Weald Action Group

Six women from Surrey and Sussex fighting against an interim injunction application by UK Oil and Gas have vowed to fight on after a High Court judge approved it in part.

But they welcomed the Judge rejecting a number of the oil company’s restrictions.  The Judge rejected UKOG’s inclusion of their offices in Guildford as part of the injunction.  He accepted Friends of the Earth’s case and disallowed a blanket ban on publicising and promoting protest activities.  The Judge also removed some of the most restrictive clauses – like the attempt to stop monitoring what goes on at the sites. Read the rest of this entry >>