An anti-drilling protester locked himself on to a tanker visiting the Horse Hill exploratory oil site near Gatwick this morning.
He stayed on top of the vehicle for nearly four hours before he was taken down by specialist police officers and arrested.
The lock-on is the latest in a series of protests, organised by the Horse Hill Protection Group, which have aimed to raise awareness of the site.
The group has established a protest camp and members have walked in front of lorries going to the site to slow down deliveries. A march and mass cycle rally is planned for tomorrow (Saturday 20th February 2016).
The site operator, Horse Hill Developments Ltd, is testing the flow of oil from the well. The first two tanker loads of oil left the site earlier this week.
One of the investors in the site, UK Oil & Gas Investments, said the well continued to produce high quality oil at good rates. Its executive chairman, Stephen Sanderson, said the first two tankers containing 348 barrels of oil had been sent for refining on Tuesday.
Protester Isabelle Bish was outside the site this morning and explained what happened.
“The waste tanker was on its way to the site at about 8.30am.”
“A couple of people got ready to walk the lorry up to the site. A guy got onto the lorry and lay down on the top. He refused to move.”
“The police came soon afterwards. They used scaffolding and a winch device to get him down from the top. He was up there until about 1pm. He was then arrested.”
A spokesperson for Surrey Police said:
“Officers established a cordon around the vehicle but the man refused to engage with officers or climb down from the vehicle.”
“The road was not closed but traffic flow was restricted as a result of the incident.
The man was removed from the vehicle and arrested for interfering with a motor vehicle. Another man was also arrested at the scene for the same offence. Both men remain in police custody while enquiries continue.”
Julie Wassmer, of East Kent Against Fracking, said local people who drove past the protest had thanked those involved. She said:
“They do not want 120 lorries a day disrupting their journeys”.
She added that the Horse Hill Protection Group (HHPG) was currently monitoring safety issues at the site which they did not feel the Environment Agency was adequately equipped for, following government cuts.
DrillOrDrop reported earlier this week complaints by local residents about a smell coming from the site during the first flow test. Link to post We’ll be posting a follow-up to this with new information next week.
March and mass cycle
Another protest is planned for tomorrow (Saturday 20th February) starting at 12 noon. The meeting point is the Black Horse pub, Reigate Road, Horley RH6 0HU. Details
There is also a public meeting about the Horse Hill site on Sunday 28th February 2016. It is organised by Frack Free Surrey and Surrey Against Fracking, from 4.30pm-6.30pm, at Hookwood Memorial Hall, Horley RH6 0AZ. Details
Updated 6.35pm with statement from Surrey Police