Fracking Protest Camp Set Up to Protect Horse Hill, UK

Campaigners at the Horse Hill site near Horley, photo credit: Marina Pepper

October 16th, 2014

A protest group has set up camp near Horley to protect a site from possible fracking following news that oil ‘shows’ at Horse Hill after weeks of exploration.

Horse Hill Developments has been drilling at the Horse Hill site since the beginning of September with a promise to campaigners that it would not be fracking there, but Frack Free Surrey fear the company is testing the ground for future projects in the Weald.

The company does not currently have a license to frack, but stated on September 18 that “the information gained through these activities will provide valuable insights into the technical and economic viability of unconventional development elsewhere in the Weald Basin”.

More than 80 people attended a meeting held by Redhill Greens and Frack Free Surrey on Monday (October 13), to discuss the drilling and the possible threat of fracking across the weald.

 


 

Rob Basto, from Frack Free Surrey, said:If fracking goes ahead in the area it could result in thousands of wells in the south-east with disastrous consequences – for our local environment and the global climate. We are utterly opposed to any new fossil fuel development in our area.”

Brenda Pollack, from Friends of the Earth, said campaigners are concerned as many companies are now “salami slicing” their applications, in order to have a greater chance of success. Exploratory licences are granted in the first stage, which means a fracking licence can be easier to get once industrial work has already taken place on the land.

But Ms Pollack said campaigners were keen not to scare monger.

She said: “We are concerned that ultimately the company wants to extract shale oil. The site is in the Weald Basin – an area known to contain oil trapped in shale rock. While they may be using conventional techniques at this testing phase, there is every reason to believe it could lead to fracking.

“Chasing difficult to reach fossil fuels is not the answer to our energy problems. Surrey should be investing in cleaner renewable energy projects to help reduce the impacts of climate change.”


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Campaigners have set up camp at the Horse Hill site near Horley

Ms Pollack said many people are concerned as Magellan Petroleum

Corporation, who have a 35% stake in Horse Hill Developments, are also partnered with Celtique Energy who recently had an application turned down to drill at Nine Acre Copse in Fernhurst.

In September, Scott Bradley, chief executive of Horse Hill Developments Limited, said: “We are delighted with the progress being made and the drilling performance to date. We now look forward to the next phase of this conventional project and await our target evaluation results eagerly.”