To shell out £82,500 if required to do so.
As ‘Your Waverley” prepares to go into a David and Goliath-type battle with UK Oil & Gas, it will need the backing of its contingent of new councillors to use a shedload of ratepayers’ money.
The former council believed that Government consent to allow gas and oil exploration on the Loxley Well site near Dunsfold could open the floodgates for wells every two or three miles across the Weald Basin. The area between the North and South Downs, including large parts of Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and Kent. So there is much more than just Waverley to play and pay for.
Surrey County Council opposed drilling on highway safety grounds and the impact on the landscape.
Chancellor and SW Surrey MP Jeremy Hunt has vociferously opposed drilling on the site near his home. He protested to the Secretary of State for Levelling Down Michael Gove “in the strongest possible terms.” He warned the proposals were ~“decisively rejected’ by the county, borough and parish councils. He said the Government would be flying in the face of massive local opposition and was entirely against the Government’s commitment to devolve powers and strengthen local communities as well as its net-zero commitments. He has backed the High Court challenge. However, during Liz Truss’s short reign as Prime Minister, he voted to allow the exploration of fossil fuels across the country.
On Thursday, its first Executive meeting since the election will decide whether to proceed to a substantive hearing in the High Court on 8 June, at an estimated One-day hearing, to challenge the decision of the Secretary of State (SoS) made on 7 June 2022 to grant planning permission at Loxley Well and, if the Executive resolves to do so, to authorise officers to make the necessary virement to meet the council’s external legal costs of up to £32,500 and a portion of the SoS’s and UKOG’s legal costs of up to £50,000 in the event the council is unsuccessful and is ordered to pay a part of their costs.