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.

Greens pledge to continue fight against drilling at Leith Hill

Mole Valley Greens have pledged to fight on against oil drilling on Leith Hill, despite a court order* evicting the Protection Camp there.

Green campaigner Jacquetta Fewster said: “The local community – especially the Leith Hill Action Group – has been battling this unacceptable plan since 2009 and we will all continue to do so. Europa Oil and Gas still has to get all its permits in place before it can start drilling so this is not the end of the story”.

Read the rest of this entry >>

Police swoop on peaceful Surrey protests condemned

Local residents fighting oil drilling, including a Green Party member, were among those arrested yesterday (January 9) in a police swoop on the oil drilling site at Brockham.

Two Dorking Mums and a local Grandmother were arrested and released on bail in the middle of the night from a detention centre in Redhill. They had been at the site to monitor police and oil company activity and to make sure the protestors resident at the roadside camp were fairly treated. Five people were arrested in total.

Read the rest of this entry >>

Proposal for more drilling at Horse Hill – how to object

Did you know there is an application for a further three years of
oil drilling and related activity at HorseHill, near Horley in Surrey?

The company who carried out test drilling for oil in spring 2016 has applied for permission for further flow testing of the existing well and to drill two more wells – one vertical and one horizontal – and test them.  The plans also include extending the site area, modifying the access road, and installing more fencing, plant and cabins, all for a ‘temporary period’ of three years.

Please send your views to the planning authority, Surrey County Council.

Read the rest of this entry >>

Stop the attack on the UK solar industry

Government ministers are about to approve a huge tax hike on solar panels that will have a devastating impact on the solar industry.

Recent cuts to the solar industry have already triggered an estimated 12,000 job losses. Now the government could allow a huge new tax hike to be inflicted on the industry, one that could leave businesses and schools that install solar panels with a 6-8 times higher tax bill.

Industry experts say that such a sudden and huge tax rise would prove catastrophic for swathes of UK solar firms.

Sign and share the petition:

Time for change

Renewable sources such as solar have huge energy potential – why is the Government throwing obstacles in their way?

In a world of increasingly scarce resources, nearing the tipping point into runaway climate change, we desperately need to build a new renewable energy economy.

But instead the government is clinging onto fossil fuels, with all their negative impacts.

It makes no sense to throw money at ‘unconventional’ fossil fuels which are harder to extract requiring more energy to produce while yielding less.

Sign the Greenpeace petition now

Don’t Drill Leith Hill

In this four-minute film, local people explain why they are opposed to oil drilling at Leith Hill, and why they support the protection camp which is providing a focus for resistance, protest and protection.

Add your voice to the cause by joining the celebration walk.


Oil drilling threatens industrialisation of the Weald

With drilling – or more drilling – for oil on the cards for four sites in Surrey, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the words of Stephen Sanderson, CEO of UK Oil and Gas (which has an interest at the sites at Leith Hill and Horse Hill) speaking after the discovery of oil at Horse Hill in February 2016.

“These deposits extend over 1200 square miles or more of the Weald so if we can… put a commercial development together, then clearly you can see incremental step-outs over quite a large area…. We’re also looking at acquiring more acreage. 

“This type of oil deposit very much depends on being able to drill your wells almost back to back so it becomes very much like an industrialised process…

“Generally speaking these types of wells do decline, ie the flow at the start of the year when you put the well on compared to the flow at the end of that year can decline by 60 or 70 per cent or so… So generally you have to drill a lot of wells close to each other so you can maintain a certain level of production.”

The quotes below start around 8 minutes into the interview on the YouTube clip below.

Please support the campaigns against oil drilling at Leith Hill, Brockham, Horse Hill, and Bletchingley.

Read more

Read about the sites in Surrey

Read ‘Fracking the Weald: The Growing Tight Oil Threat’ on

Leith Hill Celebration Walk – 3 December 2016

A local parents’ group, Surrey Hills Slings, invites residents to join them for a walk to celebrate the outstanding beauty of Leith Hill.

The organisers say: “There is a very imminent threat of exploratory oil drilling upon Leith Hill, the site proposed to be within walking distance & visible from from Coldharbour Lane. There is a real risk of water contamination and huge destruction of the sunken roads leading up to the village.

“We would like to show support for the various action groups which are campaigning to raise awareness, fighting planning objections, protesting to delay to the drilling and working hard to protect the land. This has been on going for close to 8 years, largely under the radar, Europa plan to start drilling in early 2017 – WE NEED TO ACT NOW!”

They are leading a family-friendly walk from Starveall Car Park, Leith Hill Rd, Dorking RH5 6LU, meeting up at 10.15, with a view to head off at 10.30am and enjoy the hour or so walk up the hill.

Read more on the Facebook event page

For more information about the oil drilling plans and local opposition, contact the following groups:

Leith Hill Action Group –
A Voice For Leith Hill –
Leith Hill Protection Camp –


Angus Energy gets permission to drill sidetrack at Brockham

Angus Energy plc, has today received permission from the Environmental Agency to drill a sidetrack at its
oil site at Brockham, licence PL 235.

Angus Energy is now floated on the AIM, and telling investors that they will increase production to 400 barrels of oil per day.

However they will need planning permission before they can extend the existing well bores or drill a new well, as well as a different permit from the EA. At the time of writing, no planning application has been submitted.

Jonathan Tidswell-Pretorius, Angus Energy’s Chairman, commented: “Receiving the Environment Agency’s permission to drill the Brockham side-track is an important step in the development of the Group. The upcoming sidetrack will allow the Group to increase and prolong the production from the Portland reservoir while also giving the Group an opportunity to assess the potential of, and if successful, produce from the Kimmeridge limestons (sic) and Top Coralian layer.”

Jacquetta Fewster from Mole Valley Green Party said, “This is part of a worrying trend across the South East.  The Government must live up to its commitment to the Paris Agreement in deeds, not just words, and put an end to prospecting at Brockham, Leith Hill and Horse Hill.  Investment in renewables and energy conservation is what we need. This relentless quest for toxic fossil fuels is the road to ruin.”

Read the press release from Doriemus PLC

Read commentary on Angus’s prospects in