WAG welcomes groundbreaking development in Horse Hill Case

The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) has applied to intervene in the legal case brought by campaigner Sarah Finch against Surrey County Council over planning permission for new oil wells and production at Horse Hill in Surrey. This is the first time the OEP has sought to use its powers to intervene in judicial review proceedings.

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We pay tribute to Keith Taylor former MEP

We’re so grateful for the life and work of the former Green MEP Keith Taylor who has died in Brighton. Keith was a pillar of support to the Weald Action Group and the community campaigns against oil and gas around the South East. He was the Green MEP for the South East until Brexit in 2019 when he was forced to retire.  We mourn his loss and send love and best wishes to his family and close friends.

Read a longer tribute to Keith Taylor

10 tonnes of CO2 per day in Surrey gas plan – please object

Environment Agency is consulting on plans to produce grey hydrogen from the Albury gas site in Surrey (near Guildford) – leading to a big increase in emissions.

IGas wants to vary its current environmental permit at the site to use the gas it’s been producing at the site for some years to produce grey hydrogen (grey is when any harmful emissions aren’t captured and stored).  WAG is objecting to this application and is asking you to write in too. The deadline is July 6th and – although it sounds technical – there are some very straightforward points you can make, in your own words.

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“Unbelievable” Government decision to allow new gas site in Surrey

The decision by a Government Minister to allow prospecting for gas at Dunsfold in Surrey is “unbelievable” and “disappointing”.
Responding to the announcement by the Minister of State for Housing, Stuart Andrew MP, on behalf of the Secretary of State regarding the decision to allow the appeal for UK Oil & Gas to drill for hydrocarbons in Dunsfold, Surrey, James Knapp from the Weald Action Group said: 
“We are deeply disappointed by today’s Government decision to give the go ahead for UK Oil & Gas to drill for fossil fuels in Dunsfold. The application was twice rejected by Surrey County Council and was also opposed by local councils.
“Even if the site is proven commercially viable it will take years for new gas production to come on stream so it will do nothing to alleviate the current energy price crisis. Indeed, the UK’s Committee on Climate Change has stated that ‘Any increase in UK extraction of oil and gas would have, at most, a marginal effect on the prices faced by UK consumers in the future’.

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Dunsfold Inquiry – WAG statement on no need for more onshore gas

The Dunsfold Planning Inquiry opened today with UK Oil & Gas appealing against refusal by Surrey County Council for a new fossil fuel site.

Although the grounds for refusal focused on landscape and highways impacts, UKOG raised the issue of the need for more onshore fossil fuels and the policies it says support more exploration.

Kirsty Clough presented a statement to the Inquiry, on behalf on the Weald Action Group, challenging these claims. She told the Inquiry:

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Dunsfold Planning Inquiry – please object

UK Oil & Gas Plc (UKOG) is appealing against Surrey County Council’s decision from November last year to refuse their application for the exploration and appraisal of fossil fuels  at Loxley in Dunsfold.

The appeal is now open for representations to the Planning Inspectorate – even if you’ve already objected to the proposal. The deadline is April 6th.

Dunsfold briefing for objectors – please use your own words and send in your objection before the deadline.

Balcombe – extension plans unanimously refused

Plans to extend the highly controversial oil site at Balcombe have been turned down in a hugely significant decision by West Sussex Councillors.

Angus Energy had applied for a one year extension to carry out flow testing. But time and again Councillors mentioned the climate crisis, the need to move away from fossil fuels, and the existence of alternative sources of energy such as the Rampion wind farm.

Cllr Andrew Baldwin summed it up: “As a country and as a world we need to get away from fossil fuels”.

Local residents spoke about the other impacts of going ahead with the development – including HGV movements past Balcome Primary School, threats to air quality, flaring and a lack of information from the applicants. Cllr Louise Goldsmith said it was “highly contentious and an important decision for the public and residents in the local area”.

The site will now have to be restored. The Planning Officer said it might go back to forestry but the details of the restoration scheme have to be agreed and Councillors were concerned about how to remediate the work already carried out.

Balcombe has a long and troubled history, with fracking being earlier proposed at the site. It has been the subject of fierce opposition and protests including the arrest of Brighton MP Caroline Lucas. Read our Balcombe site page.