Judge finds against Horse Hill legal challenge

A judge has found that Surrey County Council was not required to consider greenhouse gas emissions arising from the combustion of the oil to be produced at a site at Horse Hill, Surrey, when considering a planning application for massive expansion of oil drilling at the site over the next 25 years.

In a written ruling issued today, the Hon Mr Justice Holgate dismissed a legal challenge brought by Redhill resident Sarah Finch, who was supported by the Weald Action Group.

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Carbon cuts: latest UN warning and Government’s new target

The world’s governments must wind down fossil fuel production by 6% per year to limit catastrophic warming. This means reducing the supply of fossil fuels as well as demand for them.

These are key findings from the 2020 Production Gap, a new report from the United Nations. The report also finds that the UK is in a strong position to transition from fossil fuels, and to assist other countries in doing so.

Just a day later the UK Government announced a new target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 68% on 1990 levels. But the target doesn’t go anywhere near far enough.

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Need for hydrogen is no justification for oil and gas expansion

The need for hydrogen to meet the UK’s zero-carbon target does not justify the expansion of the onshore oil and gas industry.

Some oil and gas companies are making the case that by providing gas which could be used to produce hydrogen they are part of the transition to zero-carbon.  For example, Stephen Sanderson, CEO of UK Oil & Gas told Surrey County Council’s Planning Committee in June 2020: “We believe that well-regulated and safely produced indigenous gas, such as Loxley [Dunsfold], represents a vital opportunity to help meet net zero targets by providing the most cost effective solution for the future UK production of clean hydrogen fuel”.

Now the Weald Action Group has published a briefing which shows that there is no need for fossil fuels to produce this clean-burning fuel. 

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Friends of the Earth and Government minister to take part in Horse Hill judicial review

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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Campaigners celebrate as oil companies walk away from Leith Hill

Leith Hill heart
Local people show their love for Leith Hill

Campaigners are celebrating as a cohort of onshore oil firms have been forced to walk away from the controversial proposed oil drilling site at Leith Hill in Surrey.

The consortium of UK Oil & Gas Plc (UKOG), Angus Energy and Egdon Resources Ltd has decided to relinquish the licence after concluding that “the required long-reach/shallow target-depth wells are neither technically viable or economically feasible”.  

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

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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‘Art for the Earth’: Online sale to raise funds for Horse Hill legal challenge

Works by established artists go on sale today to raise funds for an important legal challenge supported by the Weald Action Group.

Contributing artists including Ackroyd and Harvey, Merlyn Chesterman RE and Surrey-based Kiri Jones and Ali Tomlin are taking part in the sale, organised by Ann Stewart, which is found at artatwag.artweb.com

Work on sale includes paintings, woodcuts, photographic prints, ceramics and glassware, at prices ranging from £25 to £1,000. Artists will donate 33% of the sale price – and in some cases 100% – to the cause.

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