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. Having laid cables across national parks, common land , attached to ministry of transport bridges,
    I know there was a paragraph of legislation 🙂

    And if you dig deeper in to the legislation on commons..
    “ 9.3 Acts of Parliament have given many bodies compulsory powers to acquire land, or rights over or under land, for purposes considered to be in the public interest. These include:

    a. government departments for major roads, defence requirements, prisons etc,

    b. local authorities for most of their services and to facilitate regeneration,

    c. Homes and Communities Agency and the London Development Agency, new town and urban development corporations, and housing action trusts, especially for major regeneration schemes,

    d. transport and waterway undertakings and Environment Agency for railways, light-rail transit, navigation, flood prevention and drainage (many of these will be the subject of orders under the Transport and Works Act 1992),

    e. utility (electricity, gas, water and sewerage) and oil companies and their requirements for generation, storage, transmission or distribution,

    f. communications organisations and companies with radio and cable networks.

  2. I would like to join your protest on Saturday but looking at the map I am uncertain of where will be a safe place to park. If possible I will cycle from Godalming but I have offered 3 places in my car if I can park. Do you have a suggestion as to where there might be parking space?

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