Thank you to local campaign group A Voice for Leith Hill for this update.
The threatened drill on Leith Hill is now embroiled in a fast moving set of legal proceedings.
Europa Oil and Gas is keen to get on with it as their planning permission for the 18 week exploratory drill expires in August. So they’re challenging Surrey County Council for – they claim – unreasonably delaying a decision on the Traffic Management Plan for the site. The Plan involves hundreds of HGV movements in a narrow and historic sunken lane with protected trees on each side. The courts could sidestep the democratic process, which is what Europa will be hoping.
Europa has also resubmitted the Traffic Management Plan to Surrey County Council. Please comment here by February 7th
In the meantime, the Leith Hill Action Group has mounted a legal challenge to the security fence application by Europa, which was a late addition to their plans and substantially increased the site footprint. Permission for this was granted by Surrey County Council in October.
Europa also applied to the courts for an extension to their injunction on the drill site, which was granted on January 8th. This has made little difference to the campaign against drilling so far, as the protection camp simply moved to the other side of the road.
A Voice for Leith Hill has also been supporting the interest of local residents in Dorking who hadn’t been consulted by Europa in 10 years despite having the threat of heavy lorries past their doors. We knocked on doors in the roads most directly affected and sent the results of our survey to Surrey and Mole Valley councillors. Shortly afterwards Europa did its own door knocking – after being reprimanded by the Chair of the Surrey planning committee.
Keith Taylor, the Green MEP for this area, has set up a survey to try to assess how good the oil companies are at consulting local residents. You can take part here
If you’d like to see the report from the survey please contact Keith Taylor’s office