Campaigners challenge judge’s block to judicial review of Surrey oil production

191210 Horse Hill lock-on HHPG2

Protest banner outside Horse Hill oil site, 10 December 2019. Photo: Horse Hill Protection Group

Opponents of the Horse Hill oil site near Gatwick airport are seeking to overturn the decision of a High Court judge.

Last month Mrs Justice Lang refused a judicial review of the decision by Surrey County Council to grant planning permission for 20 years of oil production at Horse Hill.

The judge rejected the argument made by local campaigner, Sarah Finch, that the council should have taken into account the climate effects of burning the produced oil.

Now Ms Finch, a member of Weald Action Group, is seeking permission to appeal against Justice Lang’s ruling.

191026 HH Sarah Finch DoD

Sarah Finch at Horse Hill protest rally. 26 October 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Ms Finch’s lawyers, Leigh Day, said that the judge erred in law because the council failed to assess the indirect greenhouse gas impacts or take account of national climate policy and environmental protection objectives.

The law firm said:

“Despite the refusal of our client’s renewed application for permission to bring a judicial review, she is now seeking permission to appeal that decision in the Court of Appeal.

“She believes that the grounds of her case – relating to the failure to assess the relevant environmental protection principles and also the failure by Surrey Council to assess the greenhouse gas emissions arising from the combustion of oil produced on the site – remain arguable.”

Ms Finch had also argued that the council failed to make its members aware of evidence which she said linked activities at Horse Hill with earthquakes in the area.

But Weald Action Group said it proposed to pursue this part of the case in other ways and Ms Finch would continue the judicial review solely on climate grounds.

The group said:

“The grounds for a judicial review raise general points of wider significance and public importance, which the Appeal Court should examine at the first opportunity.”

A request for an appeal is made by submitting documents on paper, without a court hearing.

Ms Finch is crowd-funding to continue the challenge. Link

7 replies »

  1. Another ‘crowd-fund’ link. Where is the public scrutiny of where all the money for all of these many, many campaigns actually goes to? How much of the direction of these campiagns originates from legal teams? How do you know the money you hand over to crowd-funding is to instruct the legal representatives or is because of their instruction to raise more and keep the gravey train moving? Think it through people, you are just being used!

  2. Jeez of course your law firm and their client are appealing they haven’t yet sucked up all of the contributions made to the cause! Wait till the funds are exhausted and see how keen they then are to fight such a lost cause. It’s not the extraction of oil that causes climate change .. the horses in the next field probably give off more climate change gases than this drill .. it’s the how oil is consumed especially noting the gas guzzling vehicles your eco warriors turn up in such as 20year old diesel Mercs and old diesel vans ..wearing plastic waterproofs even your portaloo is 100 % plastic as are your protest banners ! hypocrisy..

  3. Interesting!

    I thought the Wressle recent result and comments would have shown how these claims are not sustainable.

    Replacing some EXISTING imported oil with UK produced oil will only benefit in terms of climate change. That will be the situation for the proposed life of HH.

    Wonder if the costs awarded by the High Court Judge have been paid yet?

  4. Looks good for cost of living, Jono-for a while. “All” those Greens will find their deliveries of their weekly shop will decrease in price-maybe.

    Wonder how competitive “alternative” energy will look?

    But, when the current panic subsides, the REALITY will remain:


    “There is no suggestion that this proposal would increase the use of hydrocarbons, and the EVIDENCE demonstrates that the effect would be simply to transfer production to a more local source.”

    Hmm-no Torrey Canyons? Such an environmental blessing.

    Very green, but seems not Green. No different to having solar panels installed by a UK team, from UK manufacture, rather than made in China, from coal energy, transported half way round the world and fitted by a team from Poland who have travelled over to do so, and will travel back again afterwards. All that can be ignored if your motivation is to berate others and to ignore what happens in real life.

  5. Why Dorkinian??

    This one is NOTHING to do with ADDING, but actually, SUBTRACTING. That has already been explained. If you believe going through the exercise in an attempt to disprove mathematics is worthwhile, good luck. You will need it.

    Maybe start at the false premise that climate change is not a global issue, and then get Ms. Abbott as an expert witness? Other than that-doomed.

Add a comment

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s