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Tomorrow, we will be in the High Court to support a campaigning group in their bid to resume a legal challenge against fossil fuel drilling on the edge of the Surrey Hills.
Back in October, we heard the disappointing news that the group, Protect Dunsfold, had been refused permission to continue with a legal challenge – but tomorrow, we have the opportunity to overturn this ruling.
The permission hearing comes at a crucial time. Last week, UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) reported discovering gas worth an estimated £123m in the area, after being given the green light by the Government to drill there in June 2022.
Surrey County Council had refused to allow the exploratory work to go ahead on two separate occasions, but it was overruled by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
There is so much at stake here. If UKOG are allowed to continue with their operations in the area, we could see irreparable damage to this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and its habitats and the door opened to fracking.
Opening major new fossil fuel extraction schemes should be a thing of the past. We have seen plenty of inertia from the Government over tackling the climate emergency, but approving this harmful scheme is a significant step backwards.
It is notable that the local MP and now Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, has also previously campaigned against fossil fuel drilling activity in the area and encouraged people to donate to our legal challenge. This has been a surprising, but welcome source of support.
Sarah Godwin of Protect Dunsfold said:
“This application has been refused twice by Surrey County Council. The nation is demanding rapid action on the climate emergency, made more urgent by global instability and war. We are very glad that the Good Law Project exists to challenge these important government decisions on environmental issues, funded by popular subscription.”
We will continue to fight for our green spaces and for robust and urgent action from the Government to reach net zero. If you want to support this case to protect the Surrey Hills, you can do so here.