Green MEP attends Leith Hill exhibition launch, brings fracking documentary to Dorking

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East, was in Dorking on Thursday [10 May] for the launch of a new Leith Hill art exhibition before hosting the Surrey premiere of the fracking film ‘Power Trip’.

‘The Lark Descending’ demonstrates local artists Dan Harvey and Heather Ackroyd’s passion and love for the Surrey Hills, with a focus firmly on protecting Leith Hill against proposals for oil drilling in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Mr. Taylor was “delighted” to meet Dan and Heather and told the artists he shared their love of the Surrey Hills and desire to see Leith Hill protected from environmentally-destructive oil drilling.

The senior Green politician said:

“This wonderful exhibition is a testament to the connection between Dan and Heather and the unmistakably precious Surrey Hills; a connection shared by residents across Mole Valley and beyond. That the main focus is protecting Leith Hill from oil drilling is particularly timely and will resonate with residents and campaigners alike.”

The exhibition, which is part of the Surrey Unearthed programme, runs until May 27 at St Martin’s Walk in Dorking.

Following the exhibition, attendees were invited to join Mr. Taylor and a panel of speakers for a discussion on fracking and oil and gas drilling at the Surrey premiere of the documentary ‘Power Trip’ at the Green Room Theatre in Dorking.

The film features notable figures such as columnist George Monbiot, Ecotricity founder Dale Vince, the Guardian’s environment editor John Vidal and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.

After the screening, Mr. Taylor chaired a lively Q&A session featuring Lucy Barford, A Voice for Leith Hill, Natasha Doane, a defendant in a High Court challenge to oil firm UKOG’s injunction bid against protesters, and Ada, a representative of the anti-drilling group Brockham Oil Watch.

Mr. Taylor, the European Chair of the Climate Parliament and a member of the European Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee, said:

“Power Trip is a gripping and eye-opening insight into the grassroots campaign against oil and gas drilling and fracking up and down the country and is especially relevant here in Surrey and the South East.”

“Across the Weald, residents are facing ever more proposals to industrialise their communities and the beautiful and protected countryside they hold so dear. The unconventional oil and gas drilling processes advocated by firms across the South East not only pose a local environmental and public health risk, they, ultimately, risk trashing the UK’s efforts to meet our legally-binding climate targets; targets the Government is already on course to miss.”

“The campaigners, residents, and protectors featured in the film are on the frontline of the fight to protect our communities, our environment, and our planet. More power to their elbow.”

The senior Green MEP also used the event to reiterate his support for the crowd justice campaign to raise funds for a group of South East residents, including speaker Natasha Doane, challenge to the oil and gas firm UKOG’s bid for an ‘anti-democratic’ and ‘draconian’ injunction to ‘bludgeon local people’s right to protest across the South East.’ He added:

“Sadly, protecting our fundamental human rights in court is a costly endeavour; that’s why I am supporting campaigners’ crowdfunding bid to raise the support necessary to pursue their case. If you’re able to give, please do.”

The crowdfunding campaign seeks to raise £25,000 by the end of May. Currently, donations total over £11,000.