A Surrey resident is going to the High Court for the right to challenge the approval of 20 years of oil production at the Horse Hill site near Gatwick Airport.
Sarah Finch is seeking a judicial review of the planning permission granted by Surrey County Council for the site near Gatwick Airport in September 2019.
A hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London later this month will examine whether her legal challenge should go ahead.
Ms Finch’s initial request, made on paper, was turned down by Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing.
But a different judge will now hear arguments in court about whether the case should go ahead.
Ms Finch, from Redhill, has campaigned since 2013 against drilling for oil at the site in the green belt.
She has argued that the council’s approval of planning consent was unlawful.
As well as long-term oil production, the permission also allowed four more oil production wells, a water reinjection well, four gas-to-power generators, seven new oil tanks, each with a capacity of 1,300 barrels, and a tanker loading area.
Represented by the law firm Leigh Day and supported by Weald Action Group, Ms Finch will say the council failed to assess the:
- Indirect climate change impact of the plans
- Greenhouse gas impact from oil the site would produce
- Impact of the development on earth tremors
- Detrimental impact of the development on green belt land
She has previously said:
“It is astonishing that while the planet is in the grip of a climate crisis, permission is being granted for the production of fossil fuels, which we should be trying to eradicate, not encourage.”
A spokesperson for the county council has said:
“The planning and regulatory committee approved the Horse Hill application as it was in accordance with the development plan and policies laid down by government.”
The case will be heard on Thursday 13 February 2020 at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand in central London. The time and court will be confirmed the day before the hearing. Opponents of operations at Horse Hill are expected to gather outside the court.