Category Archive: Uncategorized

Leith Hill: Trees at risk from oil drilling get legal protection

The petition was presented to local councillors in June

Mole Valley District Council’s Development Control Committee unanimously agreed a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) for Coldharbour Lane last night. [1]

Members of the community group, A Voice for Leith Hill, had identified twenty iconic trees in the historic sunken lane which are threatened by oil drilling plans for Leith Hill and campaigned to have them protected.

Tree Preservation Orders are designed to protect amenity trees which are at risk. The maximum sentence for breaching a TPO is a fine of £20,000 in a Magistrates’ Court or an unlimited fine in the Crown Court.

Councillors at the meeting said the trees were part of what makes the Mole Valley countryside so beautiful and that it was important to look after them.

“We’re delighted that the Council has made this order, after a long campaign and raising over 2000 signatures on a petition”, said Sarajane Ferris, of A Voice for Leith Hill.

“These veteran trees on this historic lane can’t speak for themselves so the community has given them a voice. They face damage and disturbance from the hundreds of heavy lorry movements that the oil drilling threatens.”

A Voice for Leith Hill raised funds to commission a tree report by Furlonger Tree Services, an independent aboriculturalist, which said that currently healthy beech and oak trees “were at risk from damage and any loss would harm the character and appearance of the historic environment in the lane.”

Europa Oil and Gas is aiming to secure permission for all the conditions needed to start drilling at the site on Leith Hill. Its Traffic Management Plan, which proposes moving an oil rig up the narrow lane, as well as taking out tonnes of waste materials, is with Surrey County Council for consideration.

 

  1. The Tree Preservation Order was agreed by Mole Valley District Council’s Development Control Committee on 6 September 2017.
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CYCLISTS’ LIVES AT RISK – threat from Leith Hill oil drilling plans

On the eve of the Prudential 100 cycle event (July 30th), campaign groups in Surrey are warning of serious risk to cyclists on the same roads in the coming months.

A lorry in Coldharbour Lane

A lorry in Coldharbour Lane

Cyclists on Sunday will ride safely on closed roads. But once permission for an exploratory oil drill on the route is approved, the roads will be shared with HGVs. In the last couple of weeks a cyclist died after an accident nearby – it is feared that emergency vehicles will be slowed down from accessing this area once the oil drilling starts.

Europa Oil & Gas, in consortium with UK Oil & Gas, Union Jack Oil, Angus Energy and others, have conditional planning consent for an exploratory oil well at a site alongside Coldharbour Lane. This is a narrow, winding, tree-canopied sunken lane in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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Surrey oil sites: summer 2017 update

This round-up is compiled by volunteers and information is presented in good faith. We are not experts and you are advised to do your own research and contact the groups campaigning on these sites. If anyone has further news or information about any oil or gas drilling planned or taking place in Surrey, please contact us.

Here are updates from sites at Bletchingly, Brockham, Bury Hill Wood (Leith Hill) and Horse Hill.

 

Bletchingley

Island Gas Limited (IGas) have applied for an environmental permit for oil & gas drilling in Bletchingley. Read the application and have your say

Brockham

Angus Energy have submitted a planning application for increased site works at Brockham to be valid until 2036. The consultation is open until 31 July. The application is expected to go before the Planning and Regulatory Committee at its meeting in September.

Read the rest of this entry >>

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Before the Flood: Dorking screening 28 June

The Dorking Solar Group, in conjunction with Transition Dorking, present Before the Flood. With a running time of 1 hr 30 mins, the film follows Leonardo DiCaprio around the world as he gives an enlightening account of the dramatic changes occurring due to climate change.

Natural scientist and educator Rich Thompson will be on hand to answer questions  and give some extra insight on some of the topics raised by the film.

Rich has a passion for sustainability, fuelled by his first hand experiences of rainforest devastation for palm oil plantations in Borneo, the global decline of coral reef ecosystems, and a belief that through education, positive change is truly possible.

Date:               Weds 28 June

Venue:            Burgundy & Black, St Martin’s Walk, Dorking

Time:              From 7.30 pm

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Environment Agency consults on radioactive waste at Leith Hill

Europa Oil has applied to the Environment Agency for an environmental permit covering the storing and handling of crude oil and radioactive substances arising from its planned drilling at Leith Hill

You can read the documents – including a non-technical summary – and submit your response to the Environment Agency consultation here:

https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/psc/rh5-6hn-europa-oil-and-gas-limited/

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Dirty pension funds – what are the alternatives?

Wednesday 10 May, 7.30-9pm Burgundy & Black Coffee Bar, St Martins Walk, Dorking RH4 1UT

A free, open event – all welcome

The global divestment movement is asking investors such as pension funds to stop backing coal, oil and gas and invest in sustainable energy instead.  Come and find out how this is gathering pace and what we can do to help. Read the rest of this entry >>

Keith Taylor MEP launches anti-drilling guide in Surrey

Keith Taylor, the South East region’s only Green MEP, came to Surrey this week to launch his new campaigner’s guide to drilling, acidisation and fracking

The guide includes details of drill sites across the region, including five in Surrey (Albury Park, Brockham, Leith Hill, Horse Hill and Bletchingley). It also includes an introduction to acidisation, and Keith’s concerns about a police crackdown on protest.

Keith also met with campaigners from Horse Hill, Brockham and Leith Hill, and protectors from the camp at Leith Hill to hear about their experiences and show his support for their work.

 

 

Acclaimed fracking play comes to Guildford

Following a sold-out run at Chichester Festival Theatre, Fracked! or Please don’t use the F-word is coming to Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre as part of a major UK tour.

The comedy by Alistair Beaton takes us to an idyllic English village threatened by an energy company intent on drilling for shale gas.

Anne Reid plays Elizabeth, a retired academic who finds herself transformed from obedient citizen to angry protestor. James Bolam plays her husband. Bolam himself campaigned against a drilling proposal in his home village of Wisborough Green.

Fracked! is at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre from 12-20 April. Find out more and buy tickets here: Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

For other tour dates: http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/fracked/

Brockham oil protestors in court as Surrey confirms drill was not permitted

As the row over unauthorised oil drilling in Brockham continues, local residents from the Dorking area and other anti-fossil-fuel protestors are appearing at Redhill Magistrates court on Monday 20 March. They were arrested in January for “slow walking” in front of lorries at the Brockham drilling site. They are charged with obstructing the highway and are expected to plead not guilty.

The arrest of one of them, Jacqui Hamlin – who was led away in handcuffs despite protesting peacefully – has been watched thousands of times on Facebook and YouTube.

Another arrestee, Amanda Wheatland, said, “The police were being taxpayer-funded security for the oil company Angus who were flagrantly flouting planning consents and permits at an oil well in Brockham.

“Myself and others were in constant communication with Surrey County Council over the numerous breaches of planning permissions and were constantly lied to and fobbed off by both Angus and SCC. Last week it was revealed that Angus had drilled a 1,350 metre side track without permission and in direct opposition to what Surrey County Council had told them they were allowed to do within existing permits.” 

Oil firm told it needed planning permission

The arrestees – and members of the Protection Camp which was set up to monitor the activities of Angus Energy over the winter – were concerned that unpermitted drilling was being carried out at the site. They watched as a drilling rig was brought in, as well as lorries carrying toxic materials.

It has now been confirmed that Angus Energy did not have planning permission for the horizontal sidetrack that was drilled. Angus Energy claims it did not need planning permission, despite being told it did by the Council.

Local Green campaigner, Jacquetta Fewster, said: “Whilst Angus Energy was drilling, without the necessary planning permission, it was ordinary people – peacefully bearing witness – who were subjected to arrest.  It is the directors of Angus Energy who should be held to account.

Keith Taylor, MEP for South East England, said, “The drilling, without permission, of a new well is an outrageous breach of an already deeply strained trust. It is little wonder why residents and campaigners simply don’t trust the oil and gas drilling industry or the Government ‘regulations’ utterly failing to protect our environment and our local communities.” Read more from Keith Taylor MEP

Surrey County Council has confirmed that Angus Energy needs to submit an application for retrospective planning permission and will oppose any further unauthorised work at the site.

Those who support the protesters are invited to come and show support the strength of public opinion on this issue, at the Redhill Magistrate’s Court, at Hatchlands Road, Redhill, RH1 6DH, at 9.15am on Monday 20 March.

Two chances to stand up against oil drilling in Surrey

Next week offers two ways to show your opposition to oil drilling in our countryside, and to support local campaigners

 

Monday 20 March Support people arrested at Brockham

The people arrested while protesting peacefully against oil drilling at Brockham will be tried at Redhill magistrates court on Monday 20 March.

Please come along for 9.15am, to show support and demonstrate the strength of public opinion on this issue.

The court is at Hatchlands Road, Redhill, RH1 6DH,  between Reigate and Redhill on the A25.

 

Wednesday 22 March: UPDATE! 

The fencing application has been deferred as the Secretary of State has requested an Environmental Impact Assessment. A big win for campaigners Leith Hill Action Group

Surrey County Council’s Planning Committee will be considering an application for a two-metre high fence and other buildings at Leith Hill, to last the 18 week period of the development, on Wednesday, 22 March.

The County Council planners have judged that this application does not need an Environmental Impact Assessment. Campaigners believe this is against national planning policy and have called for an EIA to be required. Read more on the Leith Hill Action Group website.

The Landscape and Restoration Plan is still going to the planning committee this week.

People from Leith Hill Action Group and A Voice for Leith Hill will be speaking and it would be great to have a crowd along to show the level of public interest and support for having an Environmental Impact Assessment of the fence application.

The meeting is at 10.30am at County Hall, Kingston – details here.