Climate campaigner joins residents on “shale trail” walk between Surrey oil sites

The climate campaigner who is taking a legal challenge on fossil fuel emissions to the highest court in the land will update local people on her case this weekend.

Sarah Finch, Horse Hill oil site, 17 November 2020. Photo: Helena Smith

Sarah Finch is taking part in a 6.5-mile walk on Saturday between two Surrey oil sites before joining a panel of speakers for a talk on fossil fuel policy.

The walk starts from the Horse Hill site at the centre of Ms Finch’s case, which is due to go to the Supreme Court next year.

She will argue that in granting planning permission for 20 years of oil extraction, Surrey County Council should have taken account of the carbon emissions from burning Horse Hill oil. Instead, the council said it needed to consider only emissions from the production process.

Horse Hill could produce an estimated 3.3 million tonnes of oil over its 20 years of permission. When burned, this oil could release 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Ms Finch said:

“I’m looking forward to the Shale Trail and showing local people two of the oil sites that haunt our countryside.

“In a climate emergency, it makes no sense at all to be producing yet more fossil fuel. Yet right here in Surrey companies are trying to extract ever more oil, and our county council is allowing it to go ahead.

“I look forward to sharing ideas for our campaign to keep the oil in the ground and updating people about my legal fight against 20 years of oil production at Horse Hill.

“The Supreme Court – the UK’s highest court – has agreed to hear this as they see it’s an important legal issue which needs to be resolved.”

The walk passes the Angus Energy site at Brockham, which received permission in April 2022 to extract oil until 2036.

Walkers will join members of the Green Party, Climate Action Reigate and Redhill, Dorking Climate Emergency, Dorking, Reigate and Redhill Extinction Rebellion, and the Weald Action Group.

The walk ends at Brockham Church Hall for refreshments and a talk on geology and fossil fuel policy.

Climate campaigner the Reverend Helen Burnett, who has helped organise the walk, said:

“Walking from Horse Hill to Brockham we will be making a strong link between two active local sites of shale oil extraction, which lie within seven miles of each other in south east Surrey.”

Walk details

The walk is on Saturday 1 October, starting outside the Horse Hill site entrance on Horse Hill Road, RH6 0HN. Walkers should assemble at 10.30am for an 11am start. The talk at Brockham Church Hall begins at 4pm and is open to all. More details

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