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April 2021 updates and requests for support from around Surrey

A number of consultations are currently live concerning the oil and gas sites in Surrey. Please make sure to send your comments. And we have news on the legal challenge to the expansion at Horse Hill.

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Campaigners celebrate as oil companies cave in on injunction against ‘persons unknown’ at sites in Surrey and Sussex

The five Weald Action Group campaigners who planned to continue their challenge to get a draconian injunction quashed in the High Court at a hearing starting next week are celebrating as   the UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) group of companies concede that they have to radically scale back the Injunction and agree a much reduced draft Order which they have now made public.

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Oil licence to continue to blight Leith Hill, regulator confirms to campaigners

Press release from A Voice for Leith Hill

Leith Hill. Image courtesy Ackroyd & Harvey/ Surrey Hills Arts / Photo From The Air

The licence to drill for oil and gas in the area covering Leith Hill in Surrey will still be offered to exploration companies, even though successive companies have failed to drill there.

Leith Hill, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, was the site of controversial plans to drill for oil by successive companies over a 12 year period. Europa Oil and Gas pulled out of the site in 2018 after a lengthy legal battle to get planning permission to drill at the site.

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Horse Hill Judicial Review: report and debrief

The long-awaited Judicial Review of Surrey County Council’s decision-making over the planning permission for 20 years oil production at Horse Hill took place on 17 and 18 November.

Over two days, in a virtual court hearing hosted online, claimant Sarah Finch’s Counsel Marc Willers QCset out her case, that the Environmental Impact Assessment should have included an assessment of the carbon emissions that would be released when the oil from Horse Hill is burned. And the lawyers for Surrey County Council, Horse Hill Developments Ltd and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government argued that this was not necessary.

The judge said: “It’s a very interesting case, a very important case”. He is now deliberating and we expect his judgment within the next few weeks.

There is a short report of the hearing on the Weald Action Group website, and the Weald Action Group is hosting an online debrief on 1 December. You can find details at:

Faith at the Gate: Horse Hill’s Monthly Vigil 6th December at 4.30pm

Faith at the Gate, the monthly inclusive event for people of all faiths and none, is on 6 December at the earlier time of 4.30pm.

The theme this month is Light in Darkness.

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High Court hears legal challenge against Surrey oil development

Case could have wide-ranging implications for future carbon-intense proposals

Press release from Friends of the Earth

A legal challenge to Surrey County Council’s decision to allow 20 years of oil drilling and production to take place near Gatwick airport begins in the High Court today.

The judicial review is brought by Redhill resident Sarah Finch, supported by the Weald Action Group, an umbrella for local groups campaigning against the extraction of oil and gas in the South of England.

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New campaign video: Horse Hill – we say no

Frack Free Surrey – along with the Weald Action Group and Back Off Horse Hill – has produced a short film about our campaign against the oil developments at Horse Hill.

The video exposes oil company UK Oil & Gas Plc’s plans for massive expansion of oil production across South East England – including footage of CEO Stephen Sanderson talking of the potential for “several thousand” wells in the region.

Last year, UKOG got planning permission for 20 years of commercial oil production at Horse Hill – a decision which is being challenged in the courts this week. They also have applications pending for developments at Dunsfold (to be decided by Surrey County Council on 27 November) and the Isle of Wight.

The film also shows the strength of community opposition to this destructive industry. Please watch and share!


National environment organisation and Government minister to participate in judicial review on Horse Hill

Press release from the Weald Action Group

Sarah Finch speaks to XR activists at Horse Hill in September 2020

The environmental organisation Friends of the Earth and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government have been granted permission to participate in a local campaigners’ legal challenge over oil production at Horse Hill, near Gatwick in Surrey.

Campaigner Sarah Finch is bringing a Judicial Review of Surrey County Council’s decision to grant an onshore oil company planning permission for four new oil wells and 20 years of oil production. Friends of the Earth had applied to make a legal intervention to support the challenge; the Secretary of State applied to be joined in order to oppose the challenge.

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Faith at the Gate 1 November 2020: Remembrance for Lost Species

Faith at the Gate at Horse Hill on Sunday 1 November will remember species eradicated by, or in danger of extinction because of, extractive industries.

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New briefing: Why we don’t need more onshore oil in the UK

Press release from the Weald Action Group

UK Government energy policy and local planning rules on onshore oil developments need to change, say campaigners.

The Weald Action Group has published a briefing Why we don’t need more onshore oil in the UK, which refutes claims made by the onshore oil industry that their developments are needed to maintain energy security, that UK oil has a lower carbon footprint than imported oil, that they provide local jobs and that they are needed for plastic production.

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