Fight against local fossil fuel drilling goes to High Court

Lib Dem councillors at the High Court

Waverley Lib Dem councillors and campaigners will today (Thursday 2nd March) attend London’s High Court in their latest opposition to hugely damaging government-approved plans for gas exploration at Dunsfold.

Lib Dem-led Waverley Borough Council, along with community group Protect Dunsfold, are seeking a judicial review into the Conservative government’s decision to allow UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) to undertake exploratory drilling for gas, after they overturned the decision of locally elected councillors to twice refuse permission.

Leader of Waverley Borough Council, Lib Dem Paul Follows, said:

“We have stood shoulder to shoulder with local residents, businesses and campaigners in fighting these destructive and totally inappropriate plans from the very start.

“Today is the latest chapter in that fight as we ask the court to allow the Government’s decision to force this through in the face of huge opposition from the local community and all levels of local government, to be reviewed.

“Instead of continuing our dependence on gas we should instead be investing in home insulation and renewable energy options. Even if UKOG were able to find anything commercially viable, it would do nothing to address people's energy bills. It would take years for anything to be extracted, and even then there's nothing to stop them selling it to the highest bidder on the international markets.

"If the Government really want to help people, they should scrap their plans to hike average energy bills to £3,000 this April, piling more misery on people who are already struggling with rising mortgages, rent, taxes and shopping bills, and introduce a proper windfall tax on the record profits of oil and gas companies, and a one-off bonus tax on those companies’ bosses."

Waverley Borough Councillor for the Chiddingfold & Dunsfold ward, Lib Dem Dave Busby, added:

“The planned drilling will have a huge impact on the local area, causing the destruction of ancient woodland and adversely affecting local wildlife including protected species. 

“It would have an irreversible impact on the landscape and neighbouring area of outstanding natural beauty, which is hopefully soon to be expanded. Local residents and businesses will be terribly affected, as our countryside is ripped up in the pursuit of fossil fuels.

“As well as the destructive impact locally, it simply can not be right that in the midst of a climate emergency the Government are allowing the search for yet more fossil fuels rather than investing in renewables or helping people with their energy bills through a proper windfall tax on oil and gas giants."

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