Did you know there is an application for a further three years of
oil drilling and related activity at HorseHill, near Horley in Surrey?
The company who carried out test drilling for oil in spring 2016 has applied for permission for further flow testing of the existing well and to drill two more wells – one vertical and one horizontal – and test them. The plans also include extending the site area, modifying the access road, and installing more fencing, plant and cabins, all for a ‘temporary period’ of three years.
Please send your views to the planning authority, Surrey County Council.
There are three ways you can have your say:
- You can fill in the form on the Surrey County Council website
- You can send a response by email to email@example.com
- You can send a letter by post to: Planning & Development Group, Surrey County Council, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2DY
However you respond, you must include these details:
- Planning reference number: 2016 / 0189
- Location: Horse Hill 1 Well Site, Horse Hill, Hookwood, Horley, Surrey RH6 0RB
- Your name and address.
Keep your comments factual, avoid emotional statements, and finish by making a clear statement of your feelings, eg, “I believe that the overall the harm outweighs any benefits this application may bring.”
The Council will continue accepting responses up until the decision is made.
HOW TO FIND OUT MORE
- You can read a summary of the proposals on the Drill or Drop website
- You can find the application documents on the Surrey County Council website: http://planning.surreycc.gov.uk/plancomment.aspx?AppNo=SCC Ref 2016/0189 (Click on the ‘Attachments’ tab)
- Read a circular from local residents about why they are objecting
Some points you might like to raise
Harm to Green Belt
The site is in the Green Belt. Green Belt is meant to be off-limits for development unless the developer can demonstrate there are ‘exceptional circumstances’. In this none have been demonstrated – except to claim it will help make the UK more energy secure.
There will be 10 HGV movements into and 10 out of the site every day, including large oil tankers. Horse Hill is a narrow rural road with several pinch points. It is well used by cyclists and horse riders and the extra HGVs and associated traffic will be detrimental to their experience on this road.
Noise and light
There will be industrial drilling rigs working 24/7 in an area that is currently tranquil and rural. Even with the proposed 6m tall acoustic and light barrier along the southern boundary of the site, people and businesses nearby would be affected by noise day and night.
Water and groundwater
There is potential for spills, or leaking from the well, resulting in pollution of water above or below ground. The plans include digging a borehole into the aquifer below, which is in the Lower Thames Drinking Water Safeguard Zone. Onshore oil wells have leaked before.
Gas produced by the well tests would be flared in a 10m high stack, using a type of flare that we understand has not been used before at onshore oil sites. The application states that this flaring would lead to increases in pollutants, particularly nitrogen dioxide and PM10 and PM2.5 particulates.
Landscape and visual impacts
As this site slopes down to the south, the drilling rigs will be highly visible, presenting an industrial appearance in an otherwise rural view. The rigs will be clearly visible, including from much of Hookwood. At night, the lights will be visible from a wide area.
Industrialisation of the site will have negative impacts on wildlife, included bats, slow worms and great crested newts.
The extraction of oil from Horse Hill would make minimal difference to the UK’s energy security. The need for oil is reducing due to developments in green technology and reducing car use. Now is not the time to be looking for new, difficult-to-extract sources.
The vast majority of scientists are now agreed that the burning of fossil fuels is causing climate change. The UK government and have others have made legally-binding climate change targets. The extraction of oil will make it much harder to meet these. UK national planning guidance affirms that climate change is a core principle.