Horse Hill: permission for judicial review refused but campaigners fight on

Campaigners outside the Royal Courts of Justice, 13 February 2020

Campaigners from the Weald Action Group reacted with disappointment as a High Court Judge refused a request for a Judicial Review of a controversial planning decision.

Sarah Finch, a campaigner from Redhill, was seeking permission for a Judicial Review of Surrey County Council’s decision to allow the drilling of four new oil wells and 20 years of oil production at Horse Hill.

Sarah Finch, the Weald Action Group and many others had objected to the planning application on numerous grounds, particularly related to climate change and earthquakes.

Ms Finch claims that the Council failed to consider the direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions of the project, and the Government’s Net Zero target for carbon emissions.

She also maintains that although the Council was sent expert evidence on the link between activities at Horse Hill and the Surrey earthquake swarm, it failed to make the Planning Committee aware of the evidence and treated seismicity as outside of its remit.

Yet Judge Mrs Justice Beverley Lang refused permission to apply for judicial review.

Sarah Finch said, “I’m deeply disappointed that I am not able to bring this Judicial Review and challenge at a public hearing the Council’s decision to allow 20 years of oil production in a time of climate emergency – and in an earthquake-prone area.”

“Approving more drilling at Horse Hill was the wrong decision for many reasons. I am seeking legal advice on whether to Appeal.”

More than £22,000 has been raised for legal costs through a Crowdfunder campaign:



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