Breaking: Campaigners occupy “Gatwick Gusher” oil site at Horse Hill

171130 Horse Hill

Photo: Horse Hill Protection Camp

At about 4.30 this morning, campaigners said they occupied the so-called “Gatwick Gusher” oil site at Horse Hill in Surrey.

They said they wanted to raise awareness about climate change, air and water pollution and the industrialisation of the countryside.

The site, near Gatwick Airport, made national news in 2015 when one of the main investors, UK Oil and Gas, described the oil find as a “world class resource” that was as “good as the North Sea”

But during flow testing, there were daily protests and some residents reported health problems and traffic disruption.

The site, operated by Horse Hill Developments Ltd, received planning permission last month for a further two wells and testing. DrillOrDrop

Campaigner Tina Williamson said in a statement why she had occupied the site:

“The majority of known fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.

“Starting a new oil rush in these circumstances is completely reckless, particularly when it uses unconventional techniques linked to air and water pollution.

“We call on the Government to ban new unconventional oil and gas exploration and invest urgently in renewables and energy efficiency”.

The site is among several in the South East, exploring for ‘tight oil’ in low permeability rocks, using techniques such as acidisation.

Opponents of drilling fear it could be the first of many. UKOG Chairman Stephen Sanderson has spoken about the possibility of what are called ‘incremental step outs’ across the South East, and the need to drill ‘back to back’ wells as production declines steeply for this type of deposit.


Campaigners tweet:

“Good morning from the Horse Hill protection camp where we’ve set up home”

171130 Horse Hill Protection camp occupation


Campaigners say police are now at the site.

The activists have pitched a tent at the site and posted pictures online of the drill site.

171130 Horse Hill 2

Photo: Horse Hill Protection Camp

171130 Horse Hill 3

Horse Hill well pad: Photo: Horse Hill Protection Camp


Campaigners say they have been threatened with eviction

171130 Horse Hill6

Platform being constructed. Photo: Scott Breen


Reports say security guards had begun to evict campaigners at the drill site.

171130 Horse Hill5

Still from video by Scott Breen

Video shows people on two tripods and at least two campaigners on a scaffolding tower. A vans is parked across the site gate.

Green Party MEP Keith Taylor offers support

“I want to offer my solidarity and sincerest thanks to the Horse Hill Protectors who are currently occupying the Gatwick Gusher drill site in Surrey. The dedicated campaigners have put their lives on hold to fight against climate-destructive and dangerous unconventional drilling. And they are not only fighting to protect against the industrialisation of the Surrey Hills Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty – they are fighting against the climate breakdown.”

“Whether the protesters’ action lasts five hours, five days, or five weeks, they are making a stand against the exploitation of our resources and for the protection of both people and planet for years to come. They deserve our admiration and gratitude.”

“Ministers’ commitment to an unconventional oil and gas rush across the UK is entirely ideologically driven. It’s a commitment that will ensure the UK fails to meet its legally-binding climate change targets under the Climate Change Act and Paris Agreement.”


The Surrey Mirror reports that bailiffs pulled three people off the tower and out of the site. Three people remain on the tower.


The Surrey Mirror reports that bailiffs expect to be at the site overnight and will wait for protesters to come down off the platform tower. The paper says three people remain on the tower, two are on tripods and other are sitting on the site fencing. Another group is next to the road, outside the site.

We’ll update this report as we get more details

26 replies »

  1. Francis-this has been pointed out numerous times before on DOD, and it is a real and astonishing problem for this day and age. You will find the antis ignore the subject completely, because, like oil from the Middle East into Fawley, it is over the horizon and just inconvenient to their cause.

    I used to work in a business that handled cobalt and we stopped overnight as we could not risk litigation or 100% control the health of employees. Child labour and their atrocious health problems are facts. The greatest problem is with China who encourage such production, as it reduces cost.
    If we had continued working with cobalt you should see the H&S warnings that were required, especially if being transported over water! Yet, the antis are apoplectic around the safety of diesel being present on a drilling site!

  2. I do not hold with any industry that uses child labour of breaches health and safety regulations. We should be putting our heads together to source clean renewable energy instead of trading insults. But fossil fuels are not the answer.

    • Hi Paula, they are playing mind games, they crow Hey! don’t look at us, look over there its sooooo bad there look look look! And you are all responsible for that! So you cant argue with us!

      Meanwhile they try to get away with ecological murder here.

      As you say, no we are not responsible for the depths that profit seeking private exploiters are getting away with all over the planet. that is their game not ours, i wonder how many of these fake crows invest in those slave factories?

      We will deal with all of that as we go along, but first of all lets get rid of this fracking virus before it turns this entire country into a waste dump for greedy offshore tax haven profit pushers and destroys the chance of cleaning this country of their insanity first.

      Only then can we turn towards these profit slave factories and chase them out of their filthy practices.

  3. How do you know fossil fuels are not the answer Paula??

    The top scientists within Oxford and Cambridge Universities disagree with you. The problem is CO2. They seem to think it is perfectly possible to decarbonise fossil fuels. The residual carbon is then a raw material in it’s own right, that could be utilised accordingly.

    I would much prefer that option to cutting forests down for wood pellets or processing grain into fuel. You talk about clean fuel and yet you want to outlaw some potential sources. Baby and bathwater come to mind.

  4. You’d have to had never lived in these isles or be suffering from deep levels of utter stupidity to have ever considered that British folk would ever roll over and accept having their land fracked lol

  5. Neither, Francis. Is that the British folk who are renowned for insulting people that do not agree with them, because their arguments are so poor?

  6. Francis Vegan
    See Farley’s Wood Well, Nottinghamshire for an example of a small, oil well, frack job. No problems so far, and difficult to find the old well site now.

  7. On November 30th I asked “Can anyone provide information on ANY damage to communities near UK drilling sites in the last 10 years? ( Excluding the disruption caused by protest mobs.)”
    No information received so I assume it is correct to state that no damage as been suffered by such communities.
    I remain open to correction.

Add a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s