A public inquiry into plans for gas exploration wells near the Surrey village of Dunsfold is due to be held this summer.
The Planning Inspectorate has said the hearing into proposals by a subsidiary of UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) would begin on Tuesday 27 July 2021.
A company statement today said the inquiry could last up to nine days.
UKOG was twice refused planning permission for the wellsite, known as Loxley, in 2020. Both votes were against the recommendation of planning officers at Surrey County Council.
The first decision by the council’s planning committee was later rescinded after technical problems with the online meeting. The second vote, by the same margin of six to five, refused the application on the grounds of highway safety and landscape amenity.
UKOG has said it would argue at the inquiry that the road network was of appropriate standard and safety would not be compromised. It has also said the proposed wellsite would not have a significant adverse impact on the appearance, quality and character of the landscape. UKOG statement of case
UKOG has described the target formation as the “second largest undeveloped gas accumulation discovered and flow tested in the UK onshore”. If successful, the company said gas from Dunsfold would be used as a feedstock for hydrogen. It estimated there would be enough energy from the site to power around 200,000 homes per year.
Opponents of the scheme have described it as “speculative, potentially damaging and unjustified in planning policy”.
They said it would threaten existing local businesses. The industrial structures on the edge of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty would have an adverse effect on the environment and residents, they said. The nearby Dunsfold Park Garden Village where 1,800 new homes are planned, would be “literally undermined” by the wellsite, it was also argued.
The appeal reference for Dunsfold/Loxley is APP/B3600/W/21/3268579. Link to Planning Inspectorate webpage