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Over 100,000 sign petition against Leith Hill oil drilling

3 minute read
Over 100,000 sign petition against Leith Hill oil drilling

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 2:32pm 15th March 2018. (Updated at 6:14pm 15th March 2018)

A petition against potential oil drilling at Leith Hill, signed by over 100,000 people, will be handed in this evening (15 March).

Campaigners are calling on the Environment Agency to reject a bespoke environmental permit application for the site, which has been submitted by Europa Oil and Gas.

The public body is currently consulting on the topic, asking the public to submit their opinions until 29 March 2018.

Meanwhile today, a 'drop-in' public information event is being held for locals at Dorking Halls between 2pm and 7:30pm.

The Environment Agency says it is a chance to discuss the application and the process being followed to determine it.

People will also be able to talk to Environment Agency representatives about how they regulate oil and gas activities. 

This is where campaigners will officially hand in their 100,000 strong petition.

The local resident who started it said: "We are encouraged that so many people agree the water pollution risks from oil drilling using acid and other chemicals are unacceptable.

"We call on the Environment Agency to act on our concerns by rejecting this application. Short term oil extraction is increasingly being prioritised by our Government over the protection of our water resource.

"Water will ultimately be much more valuable and important to our Nation than oil. It's short term thinking at its worst."


Today's drop-in event was meant to take place on Thursday 1 March, but was re-scheduled due to the snow.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: "We were disappointed to have to postpone the event last week, due to bad weather.

"Our aim is to give everyone a chance to understand the proposed activity and to be able to attend, but without putting themselves at risk through travelling in hazardous conditions. 

"An environmental permit sets out stringent conditions that a site must adhere to. We will not issue an environmental permit for a site if we consider that activities taking place will cause significant pollution to the environment or harm to human health.

"Although we are minded to approve the applications for the bespoke and standard rules permit, we are still in the determination process and a final decision has not yet been made.

"We want to hear from the public and understand people’s views on the application. Everybody has the chance to see what the permits may look like and to raise any additional concerns before we make any final decision."


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