Opponents of oil production in Surrey gathered to decorate fencing outside the Horse Hill site this morning as a legal challenge began at the High Court.
Local resident Sarah Finch, supported by the Weald Action Group and Friends of the Earth, is seeking to overturn planning consent granted for 20 years of oil production at the site.
Surrey County Council, which approved the planning permission in September 2019, is defending its decision. It is supported by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and by UK Oil & Gas plc, the owner of the site operator. Background to the case
People attending the vigil said they were expressing their opposition to the Horse Hill site by attaching tokens and messages to the gate.
Tash Fairbanks, 72, a musician from Brighton and a member of Extinction , said:
“It seems beyond belief that, at a time when the devastation caused by the extraction and use of fossil fuels is writ large across the face of the planet, when the evidence of imminent climate collapse can no longer be refuted, and even oil giants like BP are planning a speedy transition to renewable energy, that Surrey County Council – having itself announced we are in a Climate Emergency – should grant UKOG a license for four more oil wells, to be drilled over the next 20 years.”
Steve McDonald, 64, a painter and decorator from Dorking, a painter and decorator, said:
“This was not just stupid, after proudly announcing a climate emergency, it was beyond that, it was mind-numbingly stupid, particularly when we are surrounded by renewable energy sources; solar, wind, hydro, tidal, wave, even geothermal in certain parts of the UK. Energy sources that are available to us free and in absolute abundance.”
The Horse Hill opponents were also supported by campaigners at Frack Free Ryedale in North Yorkshire. The gorup said:
“Surrey County Council in its decision has failed to take into consideration the urgency of the climate emergency in ignoring the potential greenhouse gas emissions resulting from a planning verdict in favour of the extractors.
“Planning decisions must reflect climate change impacts and observe the precautionary principle. The government is aiming at net zero emissions by 2050, a date defined by many in a position to know as “the new climate denial.
“The court’s verdict will be of the greatest significance in the fight to protect the planet.”
DrillOrDrop is reporting on the case at the High Court. Report from day one