protest

Slow walk protest at Horse Hill oil production

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Horse Hill fossil fuel protest, 3 August 2020. Photo: Extinction Rebellion South East

Environmental campaigners walked slowly in front of tankers on their way to the Horse Hill oil site in Surrey this morning.

Their protest was against fossil fuel production at the site, operated by UK Oil & Gas plc near Horley.

This is the second time in two months that protesters have used slow walking to highlight the implications of oil extraction at Horse Hill for climate change.

Last month, a local campaigner won the right to bring a legal challenge to the decision by Surrey County Council to grant planning permission for 20 years of oil production at the site.

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Horse Hill protest, 3 August 2020. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

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Horse Hill oil protest, 3 August 2020. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

The climate campaign group, Extinction Rebellion, said this morning’s protest brought together about 20 activists from the Horse Hill neighbourhood and across southern England. A spokesperson said the protesters had delayed four vehicles.

One protester from Brighton, said:

“I feel I have to take action now. The climate is breaking down as we speak. Unless we urgently reduce our dependence on fossil fuels there is going to be global human suffering on a scale we have never seen before.

“New exploitation of oil, like this, taking place on our doorstep at Horse Hill, is sealing us into a terrifying future.

“The UK government and Surrey County Council have failed to act to prevent new oil development, despite acknowledging the emergency. This protest is not fun. It is scary, but I feel I have a moral duty to do what I can for the sake of my children and future generations.”

She added:

“This is a small peaceful protest and we are taking what measures we can to keep everyone around us safe by maintaining social distancing as far as possible and wearing face masks.”

Another protester, a 37-year-old scientist based in Sussex, said:

“We are at a point in time where we are on a precipice of climate break-down and the human race must take the right steps to prevent this.

“This can only be avoided if we invest in renewable energy which is becoming cheaper and easier to harness.

“The fact that the government is not doing all it can to prevent mass extinction, and continues to invest in the use of fossil fuels, is criminal. For this reason, I have come to protest by slow walking the oil industry lorries entering the site.”

An environmentalist from nearby Redhill said:

“We can no longer put our heads in the sand and ignore what is happening.

“The Climate Change Committee, which advises the government, has warned that we need to plan for a 4 degree Celsius rise in temperature by the end of the century.

“We are currently just over one degree and we are experiencing floods and wild fires. A 4-degree rise will be catastrophic. We have a chance after Covid-19 to change path and the urgency of the pandemic shows what is possible if there is a will.

“Climate change is here for the foreseeable future. How we act now will decide what future we leave our children, future generations and all the other amazing species that share this incredible planet Earth with us.”

A High Court injunction prohibits certain protests at Horse Hill and other UK Oil & Gas sites. Local campaigners have challenged the injunction for the past two years. Another hearing is expected later this year.

6 replies »

  1. “We can no longer put our heads in the sand”.

    So we decided to cover ourselves in fossil fuel products so we could protest against ourselves.

    Two lorry drivers working and paying taxes. 20 others, not working, not deemed essential or workers. On the day people asked to return to work, 20 can’t be bothered. Good job there are two helping to fund the NHS, deliver raw material to help provide the NHS with the tools it needs and contribute to supporting the 20.

    Harvest in full swing. Plenty of jobs out there if your normal employment is still not available.

    • Martin, yet again another generalization that 20 earth protectors do not have jobs. Where is your evidence that they are or not employed?
      How do you know that they aren’t, self employed, work nights, work part-time, on holiday or possibly students?
      One other thing, knowing that the oil and gas industry is the major cause of climate change, why do you think that it’s ok to continue “business as usual” rather than heavily investing in renewables?.

      • You speak about earth protectors? What I saw were some lost souls believing that if they walked slowly draped in fossil fuel derived clothing to make lorries go slower that would help the environment!!?? They really do need to understand something about emissions from diesel engines.

        (By the way, my two sons were both working. One in the building trade, the other in the NHS, and both utilizing oil and products derived from oil to do so. Currently, it would be impossible for them not to.)

        And population growth is the major cause of climate change. So, if you feel that “business as usual” should cease, try dealing with that. You can’t, neither can you deal with the countries who are increasing their impact upon climate change, so an exercise in hubris is organized.

        If you wish to invest heavily in renewables, you can. I have. Investment in HH will not influence that one jot. Indeed, if you want Government to invest more heavily in renewables then some taxation would come in useful to facilitate that. Taxation being shipped overseas will be out of the control of UK voters as to how that is spent. Indeed, with some countries some would rather the UK exported nothing, let alone money that could have been spent on the NHS.

        Finally, you know that as far as the UK is concerned, it is NOT business as usual. Just because local oil to replace imported oil is not your full monty, it is a step in the right direction. By trying to block that progress the message to the wider public is that progress is not your agenda but something else altogether and that will turn off engagement and sympathy.

  2. This is just playing at it. If they were serious they would be jumping on a plane to Saudi Arabia and chaining themselves to wells doing 10,000 bbl/day.

    • Dave – or trying to stop new coal fired power stations in China. The fact of the matter is that the environmental NGOs are lying about the dangers of oil and gas extraction and playing up to the NIMBY instincts of locals.

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