Green MEP welcomes Mole Valley decisive oil and gas objections

Green MEP, Keith Taylor, has welcomed Mole Valley District council’s decisive move to deny key permissions to oil and gas firms in Brockham and Leith Hill.

On Wednesday, Councillors objected to both Europa’s application for fencing at its proposed Leith Hill drill site and Angus Energy’s part retroactive application for the sidetrack the firm drilled without permission and part production application at the Brockham drill site.

Mr. Taylor, European Chair of the Climate Parliament and a member of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, submitted official objections to both applications [1] and welcomed the Council’s decision.

The senior Green Party MEP said:

“I’m pleased to see councillors have made the common sense decision to side with their communities and our environment. Neither Angus or Europa have a social licence to drill at Leith Hill or Brockham and the latest applications submitted were as unsound as they are unpopular.”

Commenting on the Leith Hill fencing application, Mr. Taylor added:

“The proposals represent a significant and unacceptable intrusion into a tranquil and beautiful area. The industrial fencing Europa wants to put in place would have a major visual impact on and cut off access to the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It would totally undermine its protected status.”

“Europa could have foreseen the need for security fencing at the outset of this planning process and this late stage application, which changes the original assessment of the environmental impacts considered at the public inquiry, should be viewed with scepticism. It is unacceptable for them to come back with a major new addition to their plans, with major new environmental impacts, at this late stage in the planning process.”

Commenting on Brockham, Mr. Taylor said:

“Angus, a firm that gained notoriety for knowingly and unapologetically drilling a sidetrack without permission, has not demonstrated it can operate within its planning consent but has shown itself to be a firm that cannot be relied on to operate responsibly or honestly.”

“The length of the operations proposed would have a potentially significant impact over a long period of time and are not consistent with a plan for an exploratory drill. There are uncertainties over the impact on the local geology, which require more investigation, on what Angus is proposing by way of fluids which may have environmental impacts and the impacts of a major increase in HGV movements.”

“The proposals do not make a significant contribution to the UK’s need for energy security, nor to the economy and there is no evidence of job creation.”

The Green MEP for the South East concluded:

“I’m happy that, in the interests of the people of Surrey, our environment, and our planet, Mole Valley District Council has objected to these applications. It is up to Surrey County Council to do the same now.”