Regulation

UKOG’s Dunsfold appeal to be held online – more details

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.

High Loxley Road on the route to the proposed gas exploration site (left) near Dunsfold, Surrey.

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.

Main issues

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.

Timings

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.

Key people

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.

Links

Appeal documents

Planning Inspectorate website for the appeal (APP/B3600/W/21/3268579

Notes of case management conference

DrillOrDrop report on Surrey County Council decision meeting

2 replies »

  1. Not sure Mr. Bingham and Mr. Hunt will be so inclined, as much of an Appeal concentrates upon looking back, Jono, ie. were sound decisions taken, was sufficient detail provided. That will all be recorded. If the answers are no and yes, then the rest is pretty straight forward.

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