The public inquiry into plans to explore for gas near the Surrey village of Dunsfold is to be held virtually, the Planning Inspectorate has confirmed.
The inquiry, which begins later this month, will hear arguments for and against the proposals by UK Oil & Gas for two boreholes east of High Loxley Road.
Surrey County Council refused planning permission for the scheme in November 2020, against the advice of planning officers.
The inquiry will be livestreamed and is expected to last for nine days. It will be chaired by the planning inspector, Mike Robins, who will make the final decision.
The hearings are expected to focus on the impacts of the proposal on:
- Surrounding landscape
- Highway safety
- Local and national economy
- Ecology, noise, nearby traveller site and housing development
Waverley Borough Councill and Alford Parish Council have been given Rule 6 status at the inquiry. This means they are entitled to call witnesses, give evidence and cross-examine UKOG and the county council.
The inspector will also hear from local people, either on the phone or by video conference.
The inquiry opens at 10am on Tuesday 27 July.
Other hearing days will begin at 9.30am, except Monday 2 August which is due to begin at 2pm. Each day is expected to be divided into three sessions, each of about an hour and a half.
A pre-inquiry site visit is on Friday 23 July. There will also be a second site visit, possibly on Monday 9 August, after all sides have given evidence.
More details on the inquiry programme are expected later this month.
UKOG’s case will be presented by David Elvin QC. He represented the company in November 2020 at a judicial review of the planning permission for Horse Hill. Mr Elvin will call evidence from:
- UKOG chief executive Stephen Sanderson – site selection
- Kris Bone (UKOG director) – operations
- Will Gardner (consultant) – landscape
- Steven Windass (consultant) – highways
- Tom Dearing (consultant) – climate change
- Nigel Moore (consultant) – planning
Surrey County Council’s case is represented by Jenny Wigley QC. She is expected to call:
- Liz Brown – landscape
- Graham Foulkes – highways
- Richard Hunt – planning
Evidence from the Rule 6 councils (Waverley and Alford) is expected from:
- Patrick Arthurs – planning
- John-Paul Friend – landscape
- Matin Knowles – highways
Anyone who wants to give evidence should contact the case officer before the inquiry opens by email or phone (0303 444 5384)
People who want to watch the livestream do not need to register. It can be viewed on the Planning Inspectorate’s YouTube channel
DrillOrDrop will be reporting on the hearings.