Lib Dem leader Ed Davey backs Dunsfold protest in Parliament


Leader of the Lib Dems Ed Davey visited the proposed Dunsfold drilling site where he unveiled his new Parliamentary motion to block oil drilling nearby to Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).

The motion would block the highly controversial Dunsfold drilling site. On his visit to the site, Ed Davey challenged local MP Jeremy Hunt to back the motion.

The Conservative Chancellor had previously opposed drilling in Dunsfold, which is in his South West Surrey constituency. However, Jeremy Hunt is now part of a Government which supports the drilling and is taking local groups to the courts.

Jeremy Hunt needs to make his mind up. Will he back this motion or will he side with oil companies?

Ed Davey MP

In March this year, Liberal Democrat-run Waverley Borough Council and Protect Dunsfold, a local community group, won a High Court judgement that gave them both permission to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision. That case will now be heard on the 8th June in the Royal Courts of Justice.

Surrey MP and Secretary of State State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, is leading the Government’s defence in the courts.

Liberal Democrat analysis of North Sea Transition Authority data found there are 16 sites across Surrey which have permission to drill for oil and gas, and covering one third of the South West Surrey constituency.

Lib Dem councillors at the High Court
Lib Dem councillors pictured at the High Court, bringing a case against the Government
Cllrs Penny Rivers and Dave Busby protesting near the drilling site in Dunsfold

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said: 

“As someone fortunate enough to have the Surrey Hills on my doorstep, I cannot stand by and allow it to be sold off to the highest bidder. 

“It is a scandal that Conservative Ministers are happy for oil barons to rip up treasured green land across Surrey. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty must be protected at all costs, and most crucially of all, protected from profiteering oil firms who will show complete disregard for the environment. 

“Jeremy Hunt needs to make his mind up. Will he back this motion or will he side with oil companies? Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove are ignoring the will of people across Surrey and shamefully taking them to court over this. They are taking people for granted. If Jeremy Hunt really opposes this drilling site, he would support this motion and resign from Government.”