Campaigner takes legal battle against drilling for oil in Surrey to Court of Appeal

  • ITV News Meridian's Heather Edwards reports from the hearing

A woman who opposes a council's decision to allow for oil drilling in greenbelt countryside near Gatwick airport, is taking her legal battle to the Court of Appeal today (16 November).

Surrey County Council granted permission in 2019 for four new vertical wells at a site at Horse Hill, which already has two existing wells. 

A challenge has been brought by Sarah Finch who is being supported by the Weald Action Group and Friends of the Earth.

Ms Finch, along with other environmentalists, says the impact oil drilling would have on pollution in the area and climate change was not considered.

Library picture of drilling site at Horse Hill in Surrey.

The Surrey County Council says its application aligns with national policy and will present its case at the hearing.

A spokesman said: "The County Council is required to determine planning applications in accordance with the Development Plan, the National Planning Policy Framework, national policy and other material considerations, as set out in legislation and case law.

"The County Council will present its case at the hearing and the Court will issue its decision in due course."

Last month the Isle of Wight Council rejected an application from UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) to drill exploratory wells for shale oil and gas on the island.

  • Dave Timms - Friends of the Earth

Dave Timms, from Friends of the Earth, said: "Its just not possible for the UK, and indeed the world, to meet the internationally agreed target of just 1.5 degrees warming if we do not leave the fossil fuel reserves we already have in the ground."