Leith Hill Action Group – Newsletter 29 (6th December 2014)
Stop the Leith Hill oil drilling!
New Public Inquiry – Please Write and Object
This is a reminder that you need to write to the Planning Inspectorate by 9th December to let them know that you still object in the strongest terms to this planning application. This will make a big difference to the upcoming Public Inquiry.
To state the obvious, 9th December is now only a few days away! So as you read this newsletter, please consider following it up with an immediate email to the Planning Inspectorate to make your case.
Important points to raise in a letter might be:
- This is inappropriate development in the Green Belt, as it conflicts with the purposes of including land in the Green Belt and fails to maintain the openness of the Green Belt.
- There is insufficient benefit likely to be derived to justify this inappropriate development, most particularly because there is only a 1 in 3 chance of finding any oil at all and, even if it is found, it will likely equate to little more than 0.01% of the UK’s annual oil needs over the next 25 years.
- The site is in the AONB, and will create substantial harm to a tranquil area. This is a major development in an AONB. Major developments should be refused in AONBs except in exceptional circumstances and where the development can be demonstrated to be in the public interest. There are no such exceptional circumstances and this is most definitely not in the public interest, as demonstrated by over 2000 letters of objection received by Surrey County Council to the development and in light of the likely size of oil find, if any.
- The development’s 1000+ HGV movements will cause material harm to the delicate sunken lane, which is viewed by the Surrey Hills AONB board as being an intrinsic feature of the AONB.
- There are a number of rare species of wildlife in the area, including red-listed birds such as the firecrest. In fact, we believe that this particular area includes an estimated 0.8% of the whole of the UK’s remaining firecrests and 12% of the local population of this species, which we can ill afford to lose. Such rare birds do not simply resettle elsewhere when they are disturbed – that is why they are so rare in the first place.
- The drilling will take place in an area containing important aquifers and thus risks polluting the water supply.
- No traffic management system is feasible, and HGVs will inevitably come into serious conflict with cyclists and pedestrians as well as car users. Given the recent increase in popularity of Coldharbour Lane as a cycling hotspot, there is clear potential for danger to life. There is also serious danger to schoolchildren trying to navigate between Knoll Road and both Powell Corderoy and The Priory schools.
- The prospect can be surveyed just as well from a site that does not have all of these problems and it is only financial considerations that are standing in the way of this. If there is oil, it can still be explored and extracted but this should not be for the profit of the oil company and at the expense of the AONB and everyone who enjoys it
We know from engagement at all levels of the political spectrum that your letters play a massive part in ensuring that this kind of inappropriate development gets stopped, so please do write.
If you are writing rather than emailing, please send 3 copies of your letter to Leanne Palmer, The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/26 Hawk Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6PN.
If you are emailing, please email Leanne.Palmer@pins.gsi.gov.uk.
The Leith Hill Action Group