Leith Hill Action Group – Newsletter 35 (11th November 2015) 

Stop the Leith Hill oil drilling!

Dear Supporters

We have news of an open meeting we would like to invite you to attend:

Wednesday 25th November from 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm at the John Venus Hall,  Broomehall Road, Coldharbour, SURREY RH5 6HF - a meeting for all residents and LHAG supporters with Jan Hookey who is the Environment Agency’s Senior Technical Specialist in Groundwater & Contaminated Land for South East England.

Since our last newsletter, we have been working towards our aim of monitoring the conditions that were put in place on the granting of planning permission.  As part of our commitment to remaining at the centre of the protection of Leith Hill, we have been in liaison with the Environment Agency, who are resposible for granting and policing drilling permits.

Now that Europa have been granted full planning permission, they expect to start their exploratory drilling in Winter 2016/17 but before they do, they will need to obtain permits from the Environment Agency. If they are to successfully obtain these permits, Europa must prove to the Environment Agency that they will not contaminate the environment or the water supply for North-East Surrey.

Naturally, the LHAG committee will be looking to stay in close contact with this process, to ensure that the Environment Agency have all the information they need but in the meantime, the Agency have agreed to meet with us to explain and discuss how they will protect the environment and our water supply. This will be an open meeting, to which we encourage you all to attend.  The agenda for this important meeting is given below:
 
  A. General groundwater protection: (about 15 minutes)

 
  B. Environmental permitting for oil and gas site: (about 30 minutes)

  • What is covered in environmental permitting (and the links to planning regime)
  • Environmental permitting timescales
  • Consultation periods and how we deal with responses we receive during consultation
  • How an exploratory oil and gas well is drilled and what precautions and testing will be required
  • What we will be looking out for in the application to ensure that the groundwater environment is fully protected
  • Types of monitoring – equipment on the site, checks on the drilling operation, groundwater monitoring on the site, assessment of the springs and streams around the site, monitoring of private wells around the site
 
 C.  Answering any specific questions raised: (about 60 minutes)
  • We will answer any questions anyone has on the information provided or discussed. Any questions we do not know the answer to we will record, take back and let you know when we are likely to be able to come back with an answer.

 

 Possibly – if there is time available

  • Individual discussion on risks to any particular site (for example – if a particular landowner is concerned about risk of groundwater quality problems)  

 
There may be subjects other than groundwater protection that are of interest to you.  As you can see, however, the programme is already full on this subject alone, so we ask that this meeting be restricted to groundwater issues only.  If you have other items you wish to raise, please let us know in the committee and we will feed these issues back -- the Environment Agency can then either arrange a subsequent meeting or provide written responses, as appropriate.
  
We hope to see as many of you there as possible!

Patrick Nolan

The Leith Hill Action Group