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Exploratory Drilling for Oil at Leith Hill, Surrey, UK

In an Area of Outstanding National Beauty, the local community and eco-activists are united in their campaign against exploratory tight/shale oil drilling.


In an Area of Outstanding National Beauty, community groups and activists are campaigning against exploratory tight/shale oil drilling. Europa Oil & Gas and partners including UK Oil & Gas have been seeking permission to drill since 2008, and after several appeals and a change in planning regulations they have now been granted consents for the Holmwood-1 exploration well at the Bury Hill Wood site drilling under Leith HIll and the village of Coldharbour. This would set a precedent in the Weald basin, which crosses the counties of Sussex and Surrey, where there is the potential for many wells to be built over 1200 square miles of deposits depending on the results of exploration.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Exploratory Drilling for Oil at Leith Hill, Surrey, UK
Country:United Kingdom
State or province:Surrey
Location of conflict:Dorking
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Project area:1
Level of Investment:4,560,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:01/12/2008
Company names or state enterprises:Europa Oil & Gas from United Kingdom - Licensed for exploratory drilling
Angus Energy from United Kingdom - 12.5% stake in licence; Angus will pay 25% of the costs to drill the well, and 12.5% of costs above that. The company are behind the nearby Brockham oil well in Surrey
UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) from United Kingdom - 30% of license
Egdon Resources UK from United Kingdom - 18.4% of licence
Warwick Energy Exploration Limited from United Kingdom - 10% of license
Union Jack Oil from United Kingdom - 7.5% of licence
Altwood Petroleum from United Kingdom - 1.6% of licence
Relevant government actors:Surrey County Council
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Leith Hill Protection Camp [1] Leith Hill Action Group [2], A Voice for Leith Hill [3] and Save Leith Hill [4]
Other objecting organisations include Capel Parish Council , Wotton Parish Council, Mole Valley District Council, National Trust , Surrey Hills Society , Campaign to Protect Rural England.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
National Activists
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsTraffic problems
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Court decision (undecided)
Under negotiation
Development of alternatives:All groups involved agree on a simple reccomandation and claim: "Don't drill Leith Hill".
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Drilling has yet to start or to be cancelled
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Planning Applications and Environmental Permits
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Leith Hill Action Group [3]
[click to view]

Leith Hill Protection Camp [2]
[click to view]

Save Leith Hill [4]
[click to view]

A Voice for Leith Hill [1]
[click to view]

Contrarian Investor: More about the Holmwood Prospect in Surrey (UKOG and Europa Oil and Gas)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Support the Leith Hill Protectors
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Alice Owen [email protected]
Last update26/01/2018
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