Dunsfold drilling plans recommended for approval

Dunsfold drilling plans recommended for approval

Planning officers at Surrey County Council have recommended Dunsfold drilling plans for approval.

Applicant UK Oil & Gas received the positive recommendation from officials ahead of a planning committee meeting next week.

UK Oil & Gas wants to open a new drilling site near Dunsfold, despite widespread opposition from local people.

Despite acknowledging the proposed drilling site is in a sensitive landscape, and the proposals would result in a more industrialised feel to the local area with an adverse effect on local businesses, Surrey County Council planning officers recommended councillors approve the plans.

Officials said the impact on the environment and local people would not be significant, with the detriment outweighed by the need for oil and gas.

Their report said:

Officers consider that there is a demonstrable need to maintain a stable and reliable supply of indigenous energy sources, including onshore oil and gas, into the future and that significant weight should be attributed to this aspect of the proposal which is considered to be in both the national and wider public interest.

The report was not expected until the end of next month.

It means the application will be considered at Surrey County Council’s first virtual planning committee meeting, taking place next Thursday, 21st May.

A spokesperson for the local campaign group, Protect Dunsfold, said:

We are deeply unhappy about the absence of a site visit by councillors.

We are also very unhappy about the lack of clarity on the proposals for public participation in the committee meeting.

If the application is approved next week, UK Oil & Gas will drill vertical and sidetrack wells on their farmland site which sits a mile outside of Dunsfold village.

The proposed drilling site is a short distance from Dunsfold Park, which has planning permission to create a new town with 1,800 homes.

Their wells would explore for gas in the Portland sandstone and oil in the deeper Kimmeridge limestone.

The application is for a three year period, with four phases of work, starting with 14 weeks of access and well site construction work.

UK Oil & Gas would then drill, test and appraise using a 38m high rig, for 60 weeks.

If successful, the planning application would also result in a maximum of 20 heavy good vehicle movements a day.

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