Bury Hill Wood (Holmwood), Surrey


 Last updated: 5/11/2020

Key facts

Address: off Coldharbour Lane, nr Dorking

Planning applications:

Environmental permits: Permit approved

Operator: Europa Oil & Gas then UK Oil and Gas plc. Licence relinquished October 2020

Licence: PEDL143

Status: Permissions but site abandoned after renewal of lease refused

Short film by Jon O’Houston


16 October 2020

UKOG gives up Bury Hill Wood oil exploration licence. Details

31 March 2020

UKOG says it has identified multiple drilling sites in the licence, now called A24. Details

4 January 2020

Egdon accounts reveal that the OGA has granted a two-year extension to the licence, to run until 20 September 2022. Details

28 June 2019

UKOG says it is making “good progress” in finding alternative drilling locations to Bury Hill Wood. Details

14 March 2019

Europa to hand operation of Bury Hill Wood licence to UK Oil & Gas plc (UKOG). Details

11 September 2018

Europa Oil & Gas begins to clear the Bury Hill Wood site. Details

4 September 2018

Europa Oil and Gas announces it is pulling out of Bury Hill Wood because the lease has not been extended. Details

30 August 2018

Europa seeks to extend protest injunction. Details 

11 August 2018

Europa submits three new planning applications for Bury Hill Wood. Details

25 July 2018

Oil and Gas Authority extends initial term of PEDL143 for two more years. Details 

23 July 2018

Environment Agency issues a mining waste permit for Bury Hill Wood. Details

23 May 2018

Europa’s fencing plans for Bury Hill Wood oil site approved again. Details

27 April 2018

Europa withdraws traffic management plans for Leith Hill. Details 

4 April 2018

Second review of oil exploration plans is critical of risk to drinking water. Details

28 March 2018

Independent review has “major criticisms” of Europa’s application for an environmental permit for Bury Hill Wood. Details

15 March 2018

Actors Sue Jameson and James Bolam, present a 102,000+ signature petition against an environmental permit for oil drilling at Bury Hill Wood. Details

19 February 2018

Environment Agency says it is minded to grant an environmental permit for Bury Hill Wood oil exploration. Details

11 January 2018

Leith Hill Action Group claim victory in challenge over Europa’s fencing plans at Surrey oil site. Details

29 December 2017

Europa seeks extended injunction over Bury Hill Wood site. Details

4 December 2017

Lock-on and lorry protest at entrance to Bury Hill Wood site. Details

24 November 2017

Campaigners from Leith Hill Action Group begin judicial review legal challenge to council decision on Bury Hill Wood fencing application. Details

21 November 2017

Europa announces it will appeal against failure of Surrey County Council to reach a decision on traffic management plan for Bury Hill Wood. Details

18 October 2017

Europa’s fencing plan for Bury Hill Wood approved by Surrey County Council’s planning committee. Details

Councillors on Surrey County Council’s planning committee again defer traffic management plan for Bury Hill Wood oil site. Details

6 September 2017

Mole Valley District Council imposes tree preservation orders on 20 trees on Coldharbour Lane, the route to Europa’s Bury Hill Wood oil site. Details

2 August 2017

Surrey County Council’s planning committee defers a decision on the traffic management scheme for Bury Hill Wood and adopts all the recommendations in the safety audit.

Mole Valley District Council objects to Europa’s traffic management plan. Details

31 July 2017

Closing date for comments on revised traffic management scheme. Details

22 June 2017

Leith Hill protection camp demolished and occupants evicted by 11pm. DrillOrDrop live updates

Leith HIll eviction 170622 Rob Harbinson5
Photo: RobHarbinson.com

21 June 2017

Eviction of Leith Hill protection camp begins at 4.55am. DrillOrDrop live updates

Closing date for comments on traffic management plan, which allows for road closures, stop-go boards and parking suspensions to allow lorries weighing up to 60 tonnes to reach the site. Details

16 May 2017

Closing date for comments on environmental permit application.

10 May 2017

Traffic management plan validated. Link

6 April 2017

Consultation permit on application by Europa for environment permits (mining waste, radioactive substances and storage and handling of crude oil) Details and  Link to permit consultation web page

22 March 2017

Surrey County Council approves restoration plan. Details

20 March 2017

The Communities Secretary rules that Europa’s application to put security fencing on the site for 18 weeks requires an Environmental Impact Assessment. Details

16 March 2017

Surrey County Council says plans to drill groundwater monitoring boreholes and install Heras fencing and a portacabin do not need an Environmental Impact Assessment and approves go-ahead under permitted development rights. Details

23 February 2017

Surrey County Council agrees plan for checking road damage at the site. Details

13 February 2017

Surrey County Council puts the condition for a highway survey on the agenda for its next planning meeting on 22 February 2017

6 February 2017

Angus Energy takes a stake in the licence. Details

23 January 2017

Eviction order made against the protection camp

10 January 2017

Forestry Commission refuses a request from two local councillors to scrap the lease agreement with Europa for the site at Bury Hill Wood Details

7 December 2016

Surrey County Council’s planning committee approves the lighting plan for the site

Europa Oil & Gas told DrillOrDrop it was working on an application to the Environment Agency for a mining waste permit.

4 December 2016

Hundreds of people gather at Leith Hill to protest against Europa’s plans for Bury Hill Wood. Details

29 October 2016

Opponents of Europa’s plans establish a “protection camp” at the proposed drill site. Details

27 September 2016

Europa Oil & Gas applies for permission to increase the area of the site and install additional security fencing, offices, welfare facilities, tanks and a generator. Application SCC Ref 2016/0170  and details

23 September 2015

Surrey County Council approves Europa’s application for an underground drilling corridor for the Bury Hill Wood exploratory borehole. Decision notice

7 August 2015

The inspector at the second public inquiry finds in favour of Europa and grants planning permission for the exploratory borehole  Decision notice

1 May 2015

Second public inquiry closes. DrillOrDrop report

22 April 2015

Second public inquiry opens in Dorking. DrillOrDrop report

14 May 2014

Europa Oil & Gas submits an application SCC Ref 2014/0082 to Surrey County Council for an underground drilling corridor for an exploratory hydrocarbon borehole at Bury Hill Wood

30 April 2014

Three judges at the Court of Appeal uphold the ruling by Mr Justice Ouseley, against Leith Hill Action Group, and send the planning appeal back to the Planning Inspectorate for redetermination.

19 September 2013

Leith Hill Action Group appeals against the ruling by Mr Justice Ouseley

25 July 2013

Mr Justice Ouseley allows Europa’s challenge and quashes the refusal of planning permission but allows Leith Hill Action Group leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal

23-24 July 2013

Hearing at the High Court before Mr Justice Ouseley on Europa’s challenge to the dismissal of its appeal

1 November 2012

Europa launches a challenge in the High Court against the dismissal of its appeal

26 September 2012

Planning inspector rules against Europa’s appeal and refuses planning permission

19 July 2012

First public inquiry closes

10 July 2012

First public inquiry opens in Dorking

January 2012

Leith Hill Action Group granted Rule 6 status at the public inquiry hearing Europa’s appeal

December 2011

Europa appeals against refusal of planning permission

30 June 2011

Surrey County Council issues formal notice of refusal of planning permission

25 May 2011

Surrey County Council refused an application for an oil and gas exploration well by Europa Oil & Gas at Bury Hill Wood in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

1 December 2008

Europa Oil & Gas Ltd applies for permission to drill an exploratory oil and gas well at Bury HILL Wood

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