Opposition

Residents put toes on the line in fight against gas drilling near Surrey village

Opponents of controversial gas drilling plans near the Surrey village of Dunsfold say they will put their toes on the line to show that large lorries will be forced to break the law when visiting the proposed site.

Banner publicising Dunsfold Toe 2 Toe event. Photo: Protect Dunsfold

Residents, climate activists and political leaders plan to stand on common land on the verge of the planned vehicle route to the UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) exploration site.

The company has argued that heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) delivering to the site off Loxley Road would not need to encroach on the common land.

But organisers of the Dunsfold Toe 2 Toe event next month (January 2022) said the vehicle chassis and bodywork of HGVs must pass over the common land to navigate the junction at Pratts Corner, even if the wheels did not touch the verge.

A spokesperson for the campaign group, Protect Dunsfold, said today:

“It is clearly evident from UKOG’s own documentation that their vehicles must impinge over their own definition of the common land boundary at several points, when entering and leaving the site.

“They cannot do this legally without permission from the owner. The owner is Waverley Borough Council (WBC) and WBC will not be giving permission.”

UKOG’s proposed well site showing lorry route at Pratts Corner. Source: Surrey County Council

The Dunsfold scheme has attracted hundreds of objections from residents, campaigners and local councils. Many argued that it contradicted the climate emergency declared by Surrey County Council and Waverley Borough Council, as well as national climate change targets.

Surrey County Council twice refused planning permission in June 2020 and November 2020.

The proposal was examined at a 10-day public inquiry in July and August 2021 and the inspector’s decision on planning permission is still awaited.

The Toe 2 Toe event is expected to be attended by local politicians, including the MP, Jeremy Hunt, Waverley Borough Council leader, Paul Follows, and the council’s environment and sustainability portfolio holder, Steve Williams.

Protect Dunsfold’s spokesperson said participants in the event would not obstruct the public highway at any time:

“Users of the highway will be able to pass freely at all times. Only oversize vehicles, which are unable to negotiate the complex and dangerous junction on the route to the proposed wellsite, will require specific permission from Waverley Borough Council (WBC).

“That permission will not be forthcoming for vehicles whose purpose runs counter to the climate emergency declared by WBC.”

The organisers said the event would not lead to people committing any of the new offences in the Policing Bill currently going through parliament because there would be no obstruction of the highway.

They also called on the government to revise planning policy in line with climate change priorities:

“Many who have become embroiled in the process are frustrated by the inertia built into planning policies which make it very difficult and expensive to change course when public policy clearly runs counter to the national interest.”

Referring to UKOG’s current share price of 0.10p, they said:

“It is to be hoped that the Government will quickly move to align all relevant policies and regulatory agency priorities so that these literally ‘ten shares to a penny’ speculative companies can no longer bolster their lifestyle aspirations at the expense of the general public.”

Event details

Date: Saturday 8 January 2022
Time: 12.30pm
Location: Pratts Corner, Dunsfold, Surrey

13 replies »

  1. I would make the obvious comment, but it is Christmas!

    Meanwhile, I wonder what will happen to all those wind turbines and combine harvesters that will have to be kept off the roads.

  2. Well, Paula C, most combine harvesters run on red diesel, and most transporters for wind turbines run on standard diesel, so would they? (And how about all that heating oil for households in that area?) If they would, then I would suspect any junior legal eagle could run a coach and horses through such discrimination. There is no such thing as UDI in planning or law within England.

  3. To impinge on common land you need to apply for and be granted permission from the land owner. There is no obligation on the landowner to give permission if the land owner does not want to, they are perfectly free to grant permission to some petitioners and not to others and no eagles, legal or otherwise can do anything about it no matter how senior. What fuel is in use is not a consideration.

    Sorry.

  4. Any domestic oil produced will not increase the national consumption, so would be compliant with and support WBC and the national climate change aspirations. There is no rational argument against domestic oil extraction on climate issues, and it’s a red herring used by selfish people with no regard for the countries needs.
    Unfortunately too many have been elected onto the shambolic collection of this planning committee, the meetings showed that all too clearly.

  5. Indeed Fletcher. A sane, factual and balanced approach, for oil and gas.

    “Impinge”.

    Well, hovering over some land-does that impinge the land or the airspace above? How about a drone, a helicopter, or an eagle? Does that impinge? At what height does impinge vanish?

    Sorry, but landowners are not the final decision maker. I have recently been contacted that a water main may be plonked under my land. That will certainly impinge. I am the land owner, and may object if I feel like being selfish regarding the consumption of others, even whilst I consume. I already have a power supply and telephone wires for my neighbours impinging upon my land, but have no means or desire to remove. The legal eagles will decide for me if I object. That is the real world.

  6. I thought all these points were made at planning inquiry! If I remember correctly point were conceded in the statement of common ground.

    So this is just a PR exercise to justify what?

  7. What was conceded was that UKOG claimed to be able to access the site without impinging on common land and that Waverley made it clear that permission to do so would not be forthcoming should they need it. Proving whether or not UKOG were correct was not, therefore, an issue for the planning appeal or the inspector.

    There is no suggestion that the Planning Inspector’s decision includes permission to pass over Common Land.
    UKOG’s own documents show that they cannot access the site without passing over common land accepting for the moment that the boundary is where UKOG believes it to be.

    There is a strong element of wishful thinking in this company’s hitherto spectacular failure to achieve anything anywhere of any significance nationally or otherwise.

    The holders of 16.3 billion shares now available for ten to a penny will soon be invited to “Top up” with several billion more in order to get this farce underway – good luck with that.

  8. So, pd, you don’t want to invest in UKOG. I suspect you are not the only one. And, if you look at most AIM companies, it is a familiar story.

    However, you seem to be convinced this farce will be got underway.

    Rather revealing.

    • If the planning inspector is allowed by the constraints he suffers under, to do the sensible thing and put this pathetic charade out of its misery – then no doubt it will resurface with another cockamamie scheme to seduce folk to subscribe for billions of shares at ten to a penny -but perhaps Loxley will be retired.

      If not, and all the bs about the energy needs of the nation being dependent on UKOG drilling at Loxley but not actually producing anything, even if they find it, then yes, it is a farce and if the AIM discount house can convince itself that they can get the “Private investors” to stump up the cash for more billions of shares at ten to a penny, even if they get them for 11.5 to a penny, then it might, just, get underway.

      Then, and only then, will we discover if UKOG have engaged in wishful thinking on getting their trucks onsite in the same way as they have indulged in the same trait on everything they have ever done.

      if all that happens then we shall see.

      A farce will get underway, of that I am convinced – but i rather think it was underway long before Dunsfold ever heard of UKOG. I wonder if UKOG will survive, having popped up on the radar .

  9. Well, pd, that is what AIM is all about. Some people take risks to develop a business, others are risk adverse.

    Not sure that many would agree with your stance to nip start up companies in the bud, but it is a valid position, so better for you not to invest.

    There is always the lottery. Or, M&S!! (Remember the days when that was the “safe” investment?)

    Others may take a different view and believe their investment is for the common good and may give them a return-some day. There are a lot of Tesla investors who took that view, for a long time, whilst money was borrowed and no profit was achieved.

    The approach by the antis to continually denounce what others do with their own money, whilst crowd funding what they chose, seems to me to be more to do with bile rather than any coherent position.

    And, no, I am not currently invested in UKOG.

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