Government urged to stop new oil drilling in Surrey ahead of Cop26

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Boris Johnson’s government has been urged to change course on its support for new oil drilling in Surrey or risk “hypocrisy” at the crucial Cop26 climate conference.

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The government is set to defend in court the Surrey Council’s decision to grant planning permission for six oil wells, just days after the crucial international summit in Glasgow next month.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey has written to Climate Minister Alok Sharma – the chairman of the Cop26 summit – urging him to call and deny the drilling application.


In a letter shared with Granthshala, Davey wrote: “This new oil field is the equivalent of ministering colleagues breaking your cricket bat as you go to the crease in Cop26.”

The Lib Dem leader added: “Your job is to hold China accountable for their new oil infrastructure – how can you do that when your government is building its own?”

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Davy also told Sharma: “As the minister responsible for Cop 26, you must set aside party allegiances, and call on the government to oppose this new oil field and call in the plan application immediately. “

In 2019 Surrey County Council approved an application by Horse Hill Developments – a subsidiary of UK Oil & Gas – for an estimated three million tonnes of oil outside the town of Horley, near Gatwick Airport.

Although the high court upheld the decision after being challenged by resident and campaigner Sarah Finch, another appeals case will be heard in the Court of Appeals on November 16.

Lib Dems and Friends of the Earth are both urging the government not to support the local authority’s case next month, and instead call in the original application.

Dave Timms, head of political affairs at Friends of the Earth, said: “Claiming to be a climate leader on the global stage while piling on court to defend a decision to allow millions of barrels of oil is the height of hypocrisy for the government To be drilled out of the Surrey countryside.”

The climate campaigner added: “They need to get out of this case now.”

The Community Department, now headed by Michael Gove, is involved in the matter as the drilling application relates to the National Planning Policy.

On Tuesday the government published its long-awaited net zero strategy document, detailing a plan to make Britain completely powered by clean electricity by 2035.

But Greenpeace said the plan was only “half-hearted” and denounced its failure to make a firm commitment to end new oil and gas licences.

Kate Blagojevic, climate chief at Greenpeace UK Granthshala: “Oil drilling, a new coal mine, airport expansion – all of which are completely incompatible with our plans to reduce emissions, yet these projects are being signed and the government is reluctant to intervene. Is.”

Leveling Up, the Department for Housing and Communities said: “While this decision of Surrey Council is subject to legal challenge, we do not comment on ongoing cases.”


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