Date set for Dunsfold drilling inquiry

A public inquiry into plans for gas exploration wells near the Surrey village of Dunsfold is due to be held this summer.

Lorry route to proposed Loxley wellsite (on left) at Dunsfold in Surrey. Photo: Surrey County Council

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The first decision by the council’s planning committee was later rescinded after technical problems with the online meeting.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

8 replies »

  1. How do 1800 new houses get built without HGVs??

    How do on shore wind turbines not create industrial structures, impacting upon the countryside-but for a lot longer than the TEMPORARY nature of gas site preparation?? Just the same for solar farms.

    And, threaten local business is a really strange one. They do not have a monopoly to operate in an area, and perhaps could learn to accept other businesses also have their rights to exist. I always understood that for one business, or household, to object against planning for others was not a valid reason, in itself.

    Will be interesting to see whether SCC decide to defend the decision.

  2. Martin C: Surely those new houses will not be plumbed in to mains gas for heating and cooking???

    Do wind farms not have a land mass foot print?, in which if installed the land cannot be used to plant carbon sequestration woodland?

    Solar farms by far have one of the largest footprints imaginable! Taking up 1,000’s of acres of land! No SSSI, No wildlife, Hugely Subsidised by the government by not funded by the anti’s or nimby’s! Hypocrites!!

  3. I suspect they will, EG, as most of the new builds are including gas. Which is good, as it would then be fairly simple to modify to hydrogen, as and when UK has an industry to supply it.

    The solar farms are even more interesting. My local one was constructed on agricultural land after a 99 year lease was negotiated. The construction was by a group who came over from Poland, thumped supports with pile drivers into the ground for day after day, then installed the panels-also imported-and then cleared off back to Poland with their money. Nice guys though. And the bit that gets missed is that once planners have allowed change of use from agricultural land, then neighbouring agricultural land can be vulnerable. Housing estate already gone up, and it looks as if that will be further expanded. So, how “green” is a solar farm plus a housing estate that has replaced agricultural grazing land? That housing estate is gas supplied, by the way!

  4. And what will replace, Jack?

    Haven’t you read my second sentence? (8.58pm) And then:

    “Gas from Dunsfold would be used as a feedstock for hydrogen”.

    Perhaps if you considered news of change as then setting a question, you could keep up? Perhaps look a bit further and you will see that hydrogen for homes is already being developed.

    As a few very serious scientists have stated, just decarbonise fossil fuels. What you then do with the carbon is an issue, but possibly not too much of one.

    (Back on the night shift, Jack? Double time?)

    • MARTIN ,

      Haven’t you heard , gas is so last century.

      Check this out MARTIN , happening RIGHT NOW.

      The GREEN GRANT.

      EON and local Councils are working together to improve the energy efficiency of homes in their areas and the best thing of all, theres not a WHIFF of GAS anywhere.

      MARTIN , I hope you are able to bag yourself some energy saving improvements and considerably cut down , or better still completely cut OUT the burning of fossil fuels in your home .

  5. I have actually looked at that, Jack.

    Like many of the anti suggestions, there was not any that were practical or attractive for me. Same old story.

    I can also reference several neighbours who were previously encouraged to invest in similar schemes, and will be inclined to chuck any such correspondence straight into their waste bins due to finding they had been misled. And, they were not even amongst those encouraged to lease their roofs for solar panels and can not sell their houses, as a result.

    Maybe they will do a B version Jack, to replace plastic keyboards that link to a plastic dependent Internet and YOU will then stop using fossil fuel yourself?! Can’t imagine that, Jack-where would you be without those links?

    • MARTIN ,

      Well, for someone who has against ALL scientific evidence , continued to fanatically promote the burning of fossil fuels , ignoring the fact that it will bring great suffering and hardship to future generations.

      It comes as no suprise that you are able to pluck out of thin air, several mythical nieghbours that are also giving the thumbs down to green energy .

      The thing is MARTIN , you NEVER back up anything you say with evidence.

      To be honest, what surprises me even more , is that as to date, you haven’t used the TINMAN from the Wizard Of Oz , citing his need to always have a FULL oil can , as just cause to continue the endless drilling for oil.

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