Proposal for more drilling at Horse Hill – how to object

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:

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

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.

Traffic

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.

Air quality

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.

Wildlife

Industrialisation of the site will have negative impacts on wildlife, included bats, slow worms and great crested newts.

Energy security

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.

Climate

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.

 

13 Responses

  1. Ann Stewart says:

    I am part of the group opposing planning permission for UKOG to develop Markwells Wood. We wish you all the best for your campaign and I will be writing in to support your objection.

  2. Ann Stewart says:

    Does their application make any reference to “tight oil” and “stimulation techniques”?

  3. Richard says:

    All of the water for Sutton and East Surrey Water comes from boreholes. Obviously, the water table is shared across a wide area. Industrial drilling near or through the same strata is a permanent health hazard to hundreds of thousands of residents even before taking into account the impact on local infrastructure and air quality. This is fool’s gold.

  4. Una-Jane Winfield says:

    I have written to object to the Horse Hill application. Surrey County Council’s planning website is misbehaving, so I have written direct to mwcd@surreycc.gov.uk and, just to be sure, to planning@surreycc.gov.uk.
    Thank you for your points above, which I have altered a little bit. In particular any gas/oil found is likely to be “sour”, i.e. to contain hydrogen sulphide, which burns to produce sulphur dioxide, i.e. “acid rain”…. lovely!

  5. Gerda Sharma says:

    Dear sir or madam,
    I am writing to you to let you know, that I am totally against franking.
    The reason why is that I have done plenty of research including a farmer in the USA, who his family has suffered bad health, which is cancer related. Not only that they had to suffer from smells, pollution, gas leak
    and dying life stock ,this was was their nightmare, and they weren’t on their own, other people lost their homes,or had structure damage, due to minor earthquakes.
    I understand that utility bills, will be cheaper but at what cost,
    I don’t fancy having to pay extra for water, because my drinking water has been poisoned.

    • admin says:

      Thank you Gerda

      The proposals for Horse Hill don’t involve fracking but acidising. Acidising involves pumping the well with acids and it has many of the same downsides as fracking.

      Although utility bills in the US have (for now) been reduced by fracking, this is very unlikely to happen here because the European wholesale energy markets are completely different. We agree with you that any benefits from this oil drilling, if there are any, are more than offset by the environmental impacts.

  6. Greetings from the north, where the unconventional gas industry has us in its sights. We’ve put this round our network and hopefully you should get some more – folk up here are getting pretty used to objecting to planning applications by now! Best of luck, and let’s hope for another Wressle-style rejection.

  7. Russ Temple says:

    Get with it UK – do your MPs live in UK?

    In Australia some States are banning gthe filthy and potentially dangerous onshore fracking, ucg and cbm.

    If they explore & exploit – make sure operators have sufficient INSURANCE.

  8. Mrs E M Smith says:

    I thought we lived in a democratic country but the older I get the more I feel this is not so. Our greenbelt is so important, for future generations we must all oppose this terrible fracking.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comment. The proposals for Horse Hill don’t involve fracking but acidising. Acidising involves pumping the well with acids and it has many of the same downsides as fracking.

  9. Barbara Richardson says:

    I have submitted an objection. Although I live in Lancashire our lovely rural village of Roseacre is threatened by Cuadrilla who want to drill and frack up to 4 exploratory wells for shale gas so I have real sympathy for your cause. LCC rejected, Cuadrilla appealed, the the SoS called in, a Public Inquiry held so we have been right through the process and empathise.

    Hopefully Councillors will see sense and reject the application. Good luck.

  10. A P KIRK says:

    ‘Only when they have felled the last tree, posioned the last river and caught the last fish, will they realize they can’t eat money.’ Old Cree Indian Proverb

    ‘This we know, the earth does not belong to man. Continue to contaminate your bed and one day you will suffocate in your own waste.” Chief SEATTLE addressing then President LINCOLN

    ‘Gold is the excrement of the gods.’ Old Aztec Proverb.

    Destroy the ECOLOGY,
    Rubbish & Pollute the ENVIRONMENT,
    Decimating those LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEMS,
    That sustain Human’kind’,
    Then rest assured, we are all DOOMED,
    To a fate far worse than EXTINCTION.

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