Protect Dunsfold has statutory review hearing of decision to allow exploratory oil and gas well in Surrey
Protect Dunsfold has a Planning Court statutory review hearing on Thursday 8 June to legally challenge a government decision to allow an exploratory oil and gas well to be drilled in Dunsfold near to the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Posted on 06 June 2023
The review of Local Government Secretary Michael Gove’s decision to give planning permission to the project on agricultural grazing land south of Dunsfold Road, Dunsfold, Surrey on appeal after the application had been refused twice by Surrey County Council will be held at the Royal Courts of Justice in London and is expected to last one day.
The campaign group will argue that Mr Gove’s decision
- was inconsistent with the policies of the National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF) which say great weight should be given to conserving and enhancing the landscape and scenic beauty in AONBs
- was inconsistent with a decision on a similar application in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire which was issued on the same day as the Dunsfold decision. In that case, an application to extract natural gas, the Local Government Secretary refused planning permission because he found that the development would have an unacceptable level of greenhouse gas emissions, even though it involved a lesser degree of greenhouse gas emissions than the Dunsfold project.
The Surrey plan involves construction, operation and decommissioning of a well site. The work will mean building an exploratory borehole and a sidetrack borehole, an access track, a junction with High Loxley Road, work on the junction of High Loxley Road and Dunsfold Road, and a boundary fence and gates. It would be located in the Surrey Hills Area of Great Landscape Value, adjacent to the AONB.
Director of Protect Dunsfold, Sarah Godwin, said:
“Protect Dunsfold are hopeful of a positive outcome to the hearing on June 8, so that the decision to allow UKOG 234 Ltd to carry out exploratory drilling in Loxley/Dunsfold could be reversed by the Minister of State. This might be just one small exploratory drilling project, but it is one too many. UKOG's plans would have a considerable negative impact on the natural environment around Dunsfold and beyond. If this project is prevented from even starting it will be a significant step forward in real meaningful action to stop runaway climate chaos.”
Jennine Walker, Legal Manager at Good Law Project, said:
"Exploiting our natural landscape for fossil fuels is simply not an option given the climate emergency we are facing today. It’s a scandal that the Government ran roughshod over Surrey County Council to give the scheme the green light. Even the local MP, and now Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt has spoken out against the decision. UKOG’s plans to drill the Dunsfold site will see irreparable harm to the natural habitats and landscape on the edge of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as well as producing significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. We hope that success in the High Court will put a stop to this and also make it more difficult for similar schemes to gain approval in the future. This High Court challenge is not only a must-win for the Dunsfold community; the UK's vital efforts to tackle the climate emergency also hang in the balance".
Leigh Day solicitor Ricardo Gama said:
“The Secretary of State conceded in the Ellesmere Port decision that ‘every tonne of carbon contributes to towards climate change’, but ignored this fact when granting planning permission for the Dunsfold exploratory well, even though he decided both appeals on the very same day. This flies in the face not only of the principle of consistency in the planning system, but also of the urgent need to head off climate disaster. Our clients hope that the court will recognise the perversity of this situation and order the Government to reconsider.”
Protect Dunsfold wins permission for statutory review of decision to allow exploratory oil and gas well in Surrey
Protect Dunsfold has been granted permission by the Planning Court to legally challenge a government decision to allow an exploratory oil and gas well to be drilled in Dunsfold near to the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Major legal challenge to decision to allow exploratory oil and gas well in Surrey
Campaigners have issued a major legal challenge to a government decision to allow an exploratory oil and gas well to be dug in Dunsfold in the vicinity of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).