Say no to massive expansion of drilling at Horse Hill

Horse Hill, near Horley, could be the UK’s second largest onshore oil site.

A company called Horse Hill Developments Ltd is testing oil flows and has applied for planning permission for five new wells, one to dispose of contaminated waste water.

They say they could produce more than 500 tonnes of oil a day. For 25 years. 

Surrey County Council’s Planning Committee is due to decide on permission on 11 September.

If you think turning Horse Hill into an oilfield is a bad idea, you can post your objection on the Council website, or email Make sure to include the reference number SCC 2018/0152 and your name and address

View the plans and have your say here:


Why does it matter?

You might want to include some or all of these points:

Climate change: We are facing a climate emergency. Scientists warn that we have less than 12 years left to make the changes needed to keep temperature rises within safe limits and avoid environmental breakdown. Campaigners say we need to reach ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2025. Allowing long-term oil drilling at Horse Hill or anywhere makes a mockery of Surrey County Council’s climate emergency declaration.

Acidisation: An unconventional technique called acidisation will be used to break down the rock and allow oil to flow.  Large volumes of acid will be pumped into the ground. It takes 56,000+ litres of fresh water to acidise 30 metres of pipe .

Water pollution: Most of this acid water is pumped back to the surface. On the way it may gather mildly radioactive materials and heavy metals. It is either treated (involving tanker transport to a treatment facility) or pumped back into the ground.

Air pollution: Gas flaring and the use of diesel engines will add to local air pollution. Already we’ve seen three tonnes of gas flared off in just one day, with only one well.

Traffic: Horse Hill Developments Ltd estimate there will be 32 tanker movements daily (1 every 20 minutes) for 20 years, causing congestion, pollution, noise and road damage.

Industrialisation: Lights, noise, traffic and pollution add up to the industrialisation of this quiet rural area.

Earthquake risk: 33 recent earthquakes in Surrey show the area is far less stable than once thought. Surrey’s ‘quakes coincided with the re-start of oil operations at Horse Hill.

Community harmed: More traffic, more noise, more light, more pollution, more drilling, more oil sites, falling house prices.

More information:

Download a leaflet to share with neighbours.

Read more about the proposals on the Drill or Drop website.



4 Responses

  1. Mark says:

    Done. Thanks for doing what you do!

  2. Dr Tim Thornton says:

    As Co-Chair of Concerned Health Professionals of the UK, I would like to register my objection to the proposal to increase production of oil using acidising at Horse Hill. SCC Ref 2018/0152
    1) We already have five times as much carbon resources as we can afford to burn if we are to stay within 1.5’C global warming. Already we are seeing impacts of the patterns of climate that are making parts of the world uninhabitable, disease patterns changing and food and water shortages. Climate breakdown will be the greatest threat to global health.
    2) Acidising is a form of unconventional fossil fuel extraction that comes with a heavy industrial process, truck traffic and issues around disposal of contaminated water and drilling solids. The water is typically contaminated with a range of toxic components and the suggestion is to inject it into a newly created well. There is no way to chemically remove radioactivity only to dispose it out of sight in the hope it will remain in place for centuries to come. If re-injection is used it may be with pressures up to 3 tons per square inch. Can you be sure that the construction of the pipe will be secure at these pressures when around the world they have been shown to leak between 5% on completion rising to 50% within 20 years. Leaking wells has been a known issue for decades and no solution has been found. Heavy metals, radioactive compounds and toxic hydrocarbon complexes will be disposed of at pressure past ground water with the hope it never re-appears under the influence of seismic activity.
    3)Truck traffic and flaring will inevitably increase air pollution with increased asthma rates, deterioration of COPD and the wider issues we have seen in countries with oil and gas extraction with flaring. v6 gives an overview of the science which underlines the inevitable and significant harm to air around these types of sires and the impacts on health. Being based on peer reviewed science it has an advantage over the usual reading list of government written or sponsored, no peer-reviewed reviewed literature which aims to reassure.
    4) Fossil fuel extraction carries a high level of community discord, adverse financial impacts and raised levels of poor mental and physical health. If you are to allow this expansion it must be conditional on having a measured baseline of general and mental health and monitoring for any deterioration of recognised likely impacts on health. There must be independent monitoring and enforcement of limits on noise, traffic, light, air quality indices, seismicity, ground water quality and natural environmental impacts. Results should be in the public domain promptly.
    5) If this is to go ahead there must be a fully assessed and publicly understood emergency plan and evacuation plan for blowouts, fire, spills leaks or other hazards. First responders and emergency services should be trained in the hazardous substances they may encounter and provision made for protective clothing and breathing apparatus. The emergency plan should be available for scrutiny.

    We don’t need this resource – we should pursue renewables
    It is a dangerous process
    It is associated with a range of pollutants
    It is associated with a range of health impacts
    It is a further, hard to reach, energy consuming extractive process that has little local support and which will add to the burden of climate change.
    There may be financial benefit for a distant company but very little benefit for the local community who stand to have health, mental health and financial impacts.
    I therefore recommend refusal
    Dr Tim Thornton MA MB BChir retired Family Doctor

  3. paul brewer says:

    Horse Hill Well Site Planning Application, Ref: RE18/02667/CON

    Copy of letter, feel free to nick bits 🙂

    and send em to FAO Caroline Smith

    Planning Development Manager
    Surrey County Council

    County Hall,

    Kingston upon Thames


    KT1 2DY

    or email to

    Some years ago I heard that oil companies thought it was a good idea to inject carcinogeous chemicals under pressure into the earth and then cause explosions underground in a process called Fracking, in order to extract more oil, using a system of wells which historical research has unequivocally shown to leak after time.

    Living in the south of England, a place with an astonishingly limited freshwater supply, combined with a general affection and respect for the earth as a living being and a buddhist world view made me think that it sounded like an EXTREMELY BAD IDEA.

    So, despite never having been previously involved in ANY political or protestive action in my life, it drove me to further research, leading to horror, sadness, anger and fear, then off of my comfy sofa to the protest camp at Balcombe. I have been involved, spreading the news about what I have discovered for the few years since, and engaged with protector activities at Horse Hill, Leith Hill,and Brockham.

    There is no point in debating the virtues of Fracking with me, since in my opinion it has none, being a ponzi scheme designed for a few rich, clever and influential people to extract un-needed resources for personal profit regardless of the horrendous destruction, pollution of the environment and social consequences before abdicating responsibility through bankruptcy, passing the costs on to the public and disappearing with the money.

    PLUS we haven’t yet mentioned the Climate Emergency and the negative effects of the Methane leaked into the atmosphere because of Fracking.

    OR the ethically appalling financial investement of many councils in Fracking and other climate damaging activities.

    AND the immediate increase in earthquake activitiy caused in many places by Fracking

    WITH a massive increase in heavy road traffic

    ALSO No Jobs for the Locals and NO Increase in Energy Security

    A Permanently Polluted Water supplies in a drought hit area

    And ultimately for what reason? Why risk destroying an area of outstanding natural beauty, such as The Weald, and poisoning the limited water supply.

    Or, if you prefer a spiritual perspective, the sheer wrongness of injecting the earth, which is in my view a living being we co-inhabit, with highly toxic (and legally unspecified, so you can’t even find out exactly what they are) chemicals, causing earthquakes, destroying the beauty of the countryside, poisoning the drinking water and the air we breathe, is quite literally an extreme form of SATANIC INSANITY, which in my opinion could only be considered by the most diseased members of a truly sick society.

    I really hope that you are not such a person and have some common sense and a conscience, because if you do you will never allow this stupidity

    Extract from Research Paper by hydrogeologists Jennifer McIntosh from the University of Arizona and Grant Ferguson from the University of Saskatchewan:-

    Oil and gas production activities can have environmental effects far from petroleum-producing regions. For example, previous studies show that operating disposal wells can cause detectable seismic activity more than 90 kilometers away.

    Guardian article:- Illegality of Fracking confirmed in Court

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