Plans to drill for gas near the Surrey village of Dunsfold come under scrutiny at a public inquiry opening tomorrow (Tuesday 27 July 2021).
The hearing, which is expected to last nine days, will be conducted online and will be livestreamed.
It will hear evidence from the developer, UK Oil & Gas plc (UKOG), local councils and members of the public.
Surrey County Council twice refused permission for the proposal for two boreholes on land off High Loxley Road. (See details here and here) . It will be defending its decision on landscape, highways and planning grounds.
UKOG is expected to give evidence on these issues, as well as site selection, operations and climate change.
Waverley Borough Council and Alford Parish Council will be taking part in the inquiry as Rule 6 parties. This means they have the right to call witnesses and cross-examine UK Oil & Gas representatives.
The inquiry will also hear statements from local people, businesses and organisations.
DrillOrDrop will be reporting on each day’s hearing. You can catch up on the key points and detailed reports here.
Hearing dates: Tuesday 27 July-Friday 6 August 2021
Parties: UK Oil & Gas plc, Surrey County Council, Waverley Borough Council and Alford Parish Council (Rule 6 party)
Application reference: WA/2019/0796
Appeal reference: APP/B3600/W/21/3268579
Link: Planning inspectorate and appeal documents
Broadcast: The inquiry will be livestreamed on the Planning Inspectorate’s YouTube channel
Address: Land South of Dunsfold Road and East of High Loxley Road
Key facts and timeline
Inspector: Mike Robins
UK Oil & Gas barrister: David Elvin QC
UK Oil & Gas witnesses: Stephen Sanderson (site selection), Kris Bone (operations), Will Gardner (landscape), Steven Windsass (highways), Tom Dearing (climate change), Nigel Moore (planning)
Surrey County Council barrister: Jenny Wigley QC
Surrey County Council witnesses: Liz Brown (landscape), Graham Foulkes (highways), Richard Hunt (planning)
Waverley Borough Council and Alford Parish Council witnesses: Patrick Arthurs (planning), John-Paul Friend (landscape), Matin Knowles (highways)
Members of the public: details to be confirmed
The inquiry opens at 10am on Tuesday 27 July. All other days begin at 9.30am. The inspector has said he plans to run three sessions of one-and-a-half hours each day. He intends to sit from 2pm on Monday 2 August.
The proposed schedule is:
Tuesday 27 July
- Opening announcements by the inspector
- Opening statements by UK Oil & Gas, Surrey County Council and Waverley Borough Council and Alford Parish Council
- Statements by members of the public and organisations
- Landscape and visual impact – evidence from UKOG
Wednesday 28 July
- Cross-examination of UKOG’s landscape witness
- Landscape evidence by Surrey County Council
Thursday 29 July
Cross-examination of landscape evidence from Surrey County Council
Friday 30 July
- Landscape evidence from Waverley Borough Council and cross examination
- Possible further members of the public and interested parties
Monday 2 August
(Inquiry resumes at 2pm)
- UKOG highways evidence and cross-examination
Tuesday 3 August
- More cross-examination of UKOG highways evidence
- Surrey County Council highways evidence and cross-examination
Wednesday 4 August
- Evidence from Stephen Sanderson, UKOG chief executive
- Cross-examination of Stephen Sanderson
- Evidence by UKOG’s operations director, Kris Bone, and cross-examination
- Surrey County Council planning evidence
Thursday 5 August
- Cross-examination of Surrey County Council planning evidence
- Waverley Borough Council planning evidence and cross-examination
Friday 6 August
- UKOG planning evidence and cross-examination
- Possible conditions
Friday 13 August
- Site visit
- Closing submissions
News updates from the inquiry
Check here for key points and links to reports from each day of the inquiry.