Council greenlights fracking site expansion

Originally published in South West Londoner in September 2019.

The expansion of a Surrey fracking site was approved at Kingston County Hall on Wednesday. 

Four new oil wells will be installed at Horse Hill in Surrey, making it the second biggest onshore fracking site in the UK.

Developers from UK Oil and Gas were approved to carry out 25 years of drilling at the site, despite public opposition.

More than 50 people, including Surrey residents and members of climate activist group Extinction Rebellion, gathered outside County Hall at 9am on Wednesday in a peaceful anti-fracking protest.

Surrey County Council’s Planning and Regulatory Committee met to debate the proposal at 10.30am.

Sarah Finch from the campaign group Frack Free Surrey was present. She said: “We were disappointed. They didn’t seem to be taking it seriously.”

Slogans on demonstrators’ placards included ‘please don’t destroy my future’ and ‘you declared climate emergency,’ referring to the Surrey County Council announcement of a climate change emergency in July 2019.

In response to comments about earthquakes in the area around the site, Ms Finch said the council stated it was not their responsibility.

Some 34 earthquakes occurred in the ‘Surrey swarm’ this year.

The council said oil and gas companies should deal with the issue, despite concerns voiced by residents.

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