Waverley’s Executive agreed this week to stump up £30,000 to join Surrey County Council in its fight to stop UK Oil and Gas from fracking in Dunsfold.
Councillors heard that it had been given leave to become what is known as a Rule 6 Party in an appeal by UK Oil & Gas (UCOG) against Surrey County Councils refusal. But Waverley has to seek approval for a supplementary estimate to cover the fees of an external consultant to represent both it and local residents. It did not have a sufficient budget to meet the costs – and would require £30,000 from its reserves.
Cllr Steve Williams told his colleagues that, a “Listening Panel’ made up of cross-party representatives had been highly effective in engaging with local people to gather evidence to fight the proposal by UCOG to drill for hydrocarbons in Waverley.
A bid, “which was not only obtrusive in our beautiful natural environment but is contrary to both ours and Surrey’s declaration of a climate emergency.”
He claimed that Surrey Planners had not put up a particularly robust case on its own, and had been highly reliant upon Waverley’s own planning officers help.
“It is an outrageous expectation to drill for hydrocarbons at Dunsfold. If it was in any other country in the world it would have been defined as FRACKING – but is defined in this country as DRILLING. It should be thrown out.”
Others agreed it would be money well-spent if it prevented further desecration of the countryside and it had the support of all the neighbouring parish councils including Alfold and Dunsfold.
Cllr Paul Follows, who is seeking the Godalming South seat in the forthcoming county council elections, alongside his Cranleigh colleague Cllr Liz Townsend featured in the clip below said:
We have a duty to fight this proposal, and although Surrey’s case was quite weak, as a critical friend, we will fight this with as much force as we are able.”
Cllr Liz Townsend is the Lib Dem candidate for the Cranleigh & Ewhurst seat at SCC in the forthcoming election: Conservative Cllr Andrew Povey has held county seat for many years.