Surrey Councillors have refused – for a second time – an application by UK Oil and Gas to drill at Dunsfold, near Godalming. The councillors recognised the huge impact the application for an exploratory drill would have had on the local community, local businesses, traffic, the environment and nearby Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They also discussed the unsupported claims of UKOG that their operations would make a significant contribution to the UK’s energy security.
The applicant had wrongly claimed that their drilling would help us to move to Net Zero Carbon, by using natural gas in making hydrogen. The Weald Action Group has examined these arguments in a special briefing on hydrogen.
The first time UKOG had its application turned down they claimed that Surrey County Council’s process for remote meetings had been flawed. So the decision had to be revisited. Council officers again recommended approving it.
Local residents spoke passionately about the impact the drilling would have on their businesses and quality of life. There was just one speaker in support – the farmer whose land UKOG would be leasing had the application gone ahead.
Protect Dunsfold, which falls under the Weald Action Group umbrella of local communities fighting the expansion of extreme oil and gas in the Weald, had worked hard to make sure the views of local residents were properly represented to the Council. But the views of a significant nearby population of Gypsies, Travellers and Roma were not properly taken on board during either decision making process.
This is the latest in a series of attempts to expand extreme oil and gas extraction in the south of England. They have all been unsuccessful in different ways. We thank the local councillors at district and county level who listened to the evidence and turned down this highly damaging application.