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
NameExploratory Drilling for Oil at Leith Hill, Surrey, UK
CountryUnited Kingdom
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 CommoditiesCrude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project Area (in hectares)1
Level of Investment (in USD)4,560,000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date01/12/2008
Company Names or State EnterprisesEuropa 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 actorsSurrey County Council
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersLeith 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.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
National Activists
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
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-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
OtherTraffic problems
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Court decision (undecided)
Under negotiation
Development of AlternativesAll groups involved agree on a simple reccomandation and claim: "Don't drill Leith Hill".
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Drilling has yet to start or to be cancelled
Sources and Materials

Planning Applications and Environmental Permits
[click to view]


Save Leith Hill [4]
[click to view]

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

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

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

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

Media Links

Support the Leith Hill Protectors
[click to view]

Other Documents

Traffic Trouble In the historic sunken lanes of surrey, HGVs are disruptive
[click to view]

Don't Drill The Hill Poster by A Voice for Leith Hill
[click to view]

Protect Leith Hill Protectors blockaded the drilling site with this construction
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorAlice Owen [email protected]
Last update26/01/2018