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Campaigners vow to fight on as plans for massive expansion of oil drilling at Horse Hill given permission
Campaigners from the Weald Action Group were deeply concerned and disappointed when Councillors on the Surrey County Council Planning and Regulatory Committee voted today to give the go-ahead to massive expansion of oil drilling at Horse Hill, near Horley.
Horse Hill Developments Ltd now has the green light to drill five new wells (one for water reinjection, which is implicated in causing earthquakes elsewhere) and commercial oil production for 25 years.*
James Knapp of Weald Action Group said, “Approving more drilling at Horse Hill was the wrong decision. The Weald Action Group and others had sent detailed submissions to the planning department, which were not properly represented to the Committee members.
“The Officer’s Report failed to take account of the changes in government policy on climate change, and didn’t address the risks of drilling in an active earthquake zone. We will seek legal advice on how to challenge this decision.”
*See a summary of the plans at: https://drillordrop.com/2019/09/09/planners-back-15-months-of-drilling-and-20-years-of-oil-production-in-surrey-green-belt/
The application for a huge expansion of oil drilling over 25 years at the Horse Hill site near Horley, comes up before Surrey County Council’s planning meeting next Wednesday (September 11th).
Demonstrators from local campaign groups and Extinction Rebellion will be present for a peaceful gathering from 9am outside the meeting, which is at County Hall in Kingston.
UK Oil and Gas, which took over the licence covering the controversial Leith Hill oil site (1), has gained a two year extension until 2022 – despite no work having been carried out since 2004.
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 email@example.com Make sure to include the reference number SCC 2018/0152 and your name and address
View the plans and have your say here: https://planning.surreycc.gov.uk/planappdisp.aspx?AppNo=SCC+Ref+2018%2f0152
Why does it matter? Read the rest of this entry >>
Thank you to Brockham Oil Watch for this update
Angus Energy is involved in discussions about selling their 65% interest in the Brockham license to an unnamed third party, saying “it is extremely unlikely that commercial hydrocarbon flow can be established from the Kimmeridge layer at Brockham”.
The news slashed Angus’s share price by 60% in a single day. It came as a huge surprise to campaigners and to the investor community, who were expecting Angus to continue with well tests, as they had announced they would just two weeks previously.
Angus also clarified that the Kimmeridge would not flow “on any conventional approach” and that they ruled out the use of stimulation techniques including hydraulic fracturing, in effect confirming what campaigners have been saying all along – that it will not be possible to commercially produce from the Kimmeridge without hydraulic fracturing or acid stimulation.
There remains a strong possibility that Angus will sell their interest in Brockham to a company who is willing to frack (or use other unconventional methods).
Congratulations to Brockham Oil Watch and all those who have been keeping a watchful eye on the actions of Angus Energy at Brockham, and helping to maintain pressure on the regulators to make sure the site is monitored closely.
Horse Hill Developments Ltd have submitted additional material from UKOG to support their planning application for five new wells (one for water reinjection) and 25 years of production at Horse Hill. Surrey County Council has invited all those who have already responded to the planning application to write in on the new information.
And since the application was submitted, there has been an important change in national policy on climate change.
Please write in giving your views on the new information. And if you haven’t written before, it’s not too late to do so. The deadline for comments is Monday 24 June.
The estimated date for the application to go to the planning committee has been put back once again, and is now 11 September 2019.
Press release from Brockham Oil Watch
Over 150 people, including a number of local councillors, attended a public meeting on earthquakes and unconventional drilling in the Weald Basin on Saturday 18 May at Beare Green Village Hall.
The gathering was organised by community group Brockham Oil Watch and chaired by Max Rosenberg, Chairman of the Mole Valley branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
[Update supplied by Brockham Oil Watch]
There has been a major upheaval at the helm at Angus Energy plc.
Paul Vonk was ousted as Managing Director at the end of January and replaced by hereditary peer Lord Lucan; and Cameron Buchanan has stepped down as interim Chair to be replaced by Lord Clanwilliam, another Eton-educated peer.
The decision on massive expansion of the Horse Hill site, and 20 years of oil production, has been postponed, in part because of the huge volume of objections – more than 1,000 objections have been submitted. Read more
Surrey County Council’s Planning Committee was due to decide on UK Oil & Gas plc (UKOG)’s application for four new oil wells plus and one water reinjection well at its meeting in April, but that now won’t happen. The next meeting is on 22 May, but it’s not certain the Planners will be able to scrutinise the application and all the objections by then.