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Surrey Hills oil drilling site will NOT go ahead

Surrey Hills oil drilling site will NOT go ahead

Published by Josh Kerr at 10:22am 5th September 2018.

Controversial plans for exploratory oil drilling in part of the Surrey Hills will not go ahead.

Europa Oil & Gas, who had planned to dill on Leith Hill, have been informed by the Forestry Commission that the Minister for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has decided not to renew the lease for the site.

Following the news, the company have withdrawn an application to drill in the area, much to the delight of protesters - some of whom have campaigned for almost a decade.

There could still be other sites within the Surrey Hills, however, as Europa have confirmed they intend to evaluate alternatives within the nearly 92 square kilometers for which they hold a licence until 2020.

Leith Hill protest camp
Protesters set up camp on the site, although were later evicted.

Lucy Barford from campaign group 'A Voice for Leith Hill' said: “Leith Hill has always been a completely inappropriate location for oil drilling, in addition to the overall issue that we should be leaving all fossil fuels in the ground.

"Local campaigners have been fighting Europa’s plans for a decade and we are overjoyed that the Forestry Commission and the Government minister have finally seen sense and put a stop to the horrendous prospect of oil being drilled in such a beautiful and vulnerable environment."

She added: "There will be other battles ahead, oil drilling is still planned for other sites across the Weald, but for now we will be celebrating the fantastic news that there will be no oil drilling at Leith Hill."

Europa CEO, Hugh Mackay, said: “The Minister’s decision not to renew the lease at Bury Hill Wood is disappointing, however, we intend to continue to work closely with our partners to determine how best to take the licence forward.

"Europa holds a multistage portfolio of licences which includes production and appraisal projects onshore [in the] UK and an industry leading licence position in the Irish Atlantic Margin."

Campaigners set up a protest camp on the site in 2016 and moved across the road after being evicted a year later. The lease on the Leith Hill site expires on 12 September 2018.

Leith Hill protests

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