A view on the Dunsfold gas debacle from a local.

Denise Wordsworth commented on Waverley Web – we decided to share it.

Conservative deflated balloon
Conservative Hot Air Balloon deflating in Waverley?

There are many MP’s on this debate on the 2nd reading of the Levelling Up Bill.
For anyone interested…https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2022-06-08a.821.0&s=speaker%3A25827#g874.1

Having read many of these – This one seemed pertinent to your piece (WW) on the UK (Loxley) Oil & Gas The Government blocks shale gas schemes elsewhere – but backs exploration in Dunsfold

Margaret Greenwood Labour, Wirral West 4:13 pm, 8th June 2022

There can be no levelling up for all generations if the Government repeatedly fail to act on the climate crisis. They should ban fracking and underground coal gasification once and for all. Instead, they have commissioned the British Geological Survey to advise on the latest scientific evidence around shale gas extraction.

We do not need a review to know that fracking is not the answer to our energy needs. Exploring the extraction of fossil fuels is an absurd and irresponsible response to the climate crisis. As Greenpeace UK said,

the Government should stop pandering to fracking obsessives who aren’t up to speed with the realities of 21st century energy”.

The Better Planning Coalition, a group of 27 organisations across the housing, planning, environmental, transport and heritage sectors, said that,

“The current proposals for new Environmental Outcome Reports give far too much leeway to Ministers to amend and replace vital aspects of environmental law. The coalition is concerned that those
powers could be used to weaken essential safeguards for nature”. It believes:
Any new environmental assessment system should be set out in primary legislation, not in secondary…and clearly deliver for nature, climate, cultural heritage and landscape.”

As ever with the Tory Government – We shall see if it is all just Hot Air!!


 Latest comment from Waverley Leader Paul Follows:

This latest decision reaffirms that Surrey needs a new politics: local democracy, accountability and an end to being governed by vested interests and the politicians controlled by them.

Waverley Web FACT CHECK on Haslemere Fact Check. Waverley did not lose the appeal – Tory-controlled SCC lost the appeal.


As for the criticism of the appeal process on the Haslemere ‘Tory’ Fact Check!

Get your facts right for a change and stop misleading the public.

Tory-controlled Surrey County Council defended the appeal. An appeal was lodged by UKOG. A defence rightly supported by all the local parish councils and Waverley and MP Jeremy Hunt in a bid to protect the eastern villages which are under siege above and under the ground. Haslemere, however, appears determined to resist the development of any kind.

11 thoughts on “A view on the Dunsfold gas debacle from a local.”

  1. Local democracy is dead, why do we waste time and money on local authorities. Time and time again local views are disregarded either by the planning inspectorate or by central government

    1. Well, Mike, some of us are having those very same thoughts. Perhaps the next Boris Blunder – Central Government control? Or, perhaps it has already arrived?

  2. A couple of comments:
    This Government seems incapable of any significant long term planning, and when they do even get close, they are ditched by the knee-jerkers at the first opportunity.
    Boris is setting the new “standards” at Westminster for lying and miss-information. The bar has been set high, but that doesn’t stop his local camp followers attempting to emulate him. So our local Tory inactivists now have local Farcebook groups intent on spreading miss-information and piffle. Are they spreading lies – or just being incompetent? I suspect its a bit of both.

    1. Some local Conservative Councillors are complicit in these sites for miss-information and piffle. Outrageous. Are they that bankrupt of ideas?

      As for ever-late-to-the-party Jeremy Hunt writing a strong letter to Michael Gove, that is just posturing to ingratiate himself with the locals. He knows full well a letter to Gove is asking the impossible – but it makes great stuff for the activists to spread far and wide.

      1. Note to self. Never trust a promise from a Conservative when he’s presented with a 3-line whip.

      2. The question is? Was there, or was there not – a three-line whip? Would you trust a politician who says one thing one day and quite another the next? But there will be no general election until the fat lady sings – and she has already received yet another posting – so it won’t be soon!

    2. It would appear to us that the Haslemere Fact Check has been set up by a group of disenchanted Tories aiming to discredit the ruling Waverley group with lies, half-truths and conjecture. Sadly, some residents will swallow it whole. We believe in holding the administration to account, regardless of who holds the reigns – but peddling lies and misinformation – does us all a disservice.

  3. ‘Screening’ is a procedure used to determine whether a proposed project is likely to have significant effects on the environment. It is interesting to learn that the 28 February 2019 screening opinion of Surrey CC considered that the land south of Dunsfold Road & east of High Loxley Road, Dunsfold, Surrey does not merit an Environmental Impact Assessment. Whilst it is ultimately for a judge to decide an alternative reasonable conclusion would be that this development merits Environmental Impact Assessment. Evaluation of the legislation and the proposed development confirms its environmental significance, which for sustainable development must be judged against social and economic gain.

  4. I can assure Brian Edmonds that at the time the decision by Surrey County Council that the site did not merit a full Environmental Impact Assessment prior to the application for planning by UKOG in ?2019, or whenever it was, it was hotly argued and there were very strong submissions made to Surrey attempting to try to get them to change their mind.
    As I recall one particularly strong and detailed representation was made by the Keith Taylor, at that time still a Green MEP for South East England. However, as it is not mandatory under the regulations to have an EIA for oil and gas exploration and as the size of the site is below the threshold that automatically triggers any EIA and there were no environmental sensitivities, you couldn’t pin a mandatory EIA requirement on it.
    Personally I think that it is monstrous that any oil and gas facility should escape EIA, irrespective of the size of the site and so I would say the regulations need changing …but fat chance of that ….

  5. Dear Ms Smyth thank you for the reply.
    The Surrey CC screening opinion advises that the screening criteria given in Schedule 2 of the EIA Regulations for Paragraph 2(e) development is that the area of the development exceeds 0.5 hectare.” The proposal would involve the development of an area of land that extends to 1.8 hectares, when the site access track and ancillary development is included within the area of development. However, the application of schedule 3 of the EIA 2017 Regulations provides much “interpretation” discretion. A further concern is that last time I checked the Developer can request a screening opinion at no cost “to encourage compliance with the Regulations” reference personal Local Government letter 27 June 2019. From past onshore drilling experience within the EU it would be surprising if the intent of the Regulation was that oil and gas should escape Environmental Impact Assessment. When an EIA was carried out for an operation in Peru the site location was moved to reduce Environmental Risk. For an oil and gas company an EIA assists in identifying cost effective project design, ensuring compliance and avoiding long term liabilities.

    1. Why would the Government care whether there was an environmental risk anyway! Now the fracking industry wants the Government to decide on every planning application to stop local authorities from shooting down their projects. They will claim their schemes are “nationally significant” and are lobbying the Government as we type. UK Onshore Oil & Gas is preparing a fresh campaign to change planning rules after other major projects were blocked at the same time Dunsfold was given the go-ahead.

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