Leith Hill Action Group – Newsletter 2 (13th February 2012)

Stop the Leith Hill oil drilling!

Hello and welcome to our second newsletter.  In this newsletter, we’re going to address some questions that have been asked about the proposed drilling.

However, first and foremost, let me thank everybody who has written so far with offers of help and donations.  You are wonderful!  It’s only through all of us pulling together that we are going to be able to successfully fight Europa’s threat to the wonderful environment we live in and visit.

Our Statement of Case for the Planning Inspector is due in on 17th February.  This is a comprehensive document that is being put together by our barrister together with the LHAG team and it will spell out all the rational reasons why we are objecting to the proposed drilling.  Our LHAG team has been working all hours, as always, to put this together and they deserve all our thanks for working so tirelessly on our behalf.

Please spread the message and this newsletter as far and wide as you can.  Our biggest challenge at the moment is raising awareness.  Please do your bit to fix this!  Don’t forget that new information will be added to www.lhag.info regularly – for example, we now have a section explaining all our reasons for objecting to the proposal.

Answering Your Questions

Two key questions that have been asked of us so far are: isn’t this just a short-term issue, and how will this affect Coldharbour Lane?  So let’s look at those.

Firstly, this is not just a short-term problem.  The drilling requires thousands of tonnes of equipment, aggregates, water and drilling mud to be transported.  The site would be active and non-site traffic on Coldharbour Lane restricted and/or excluded for a period variously stated in Europa’s application to be 18, 20 or 22 weeks. Potentially for nearly six months.

And this is only the exploration phase.  If there were nothing further to worry about, why does the (so far unsigned) lease drawn up between Europa Oil & Gas and the Forestry Commission have a term of thirty years (as revealed following a Freedom of Information Request made by LHAG last year)?  And yes, this is a temporary operation but one that will cause permanent damage to Coldharbour Lane and its fragile environment and ecology.   We can expect devastating damage to this historic sunken lane.  The delicate banks have taken many hundreds of years to develop to their current beautiful and nationally unique form.  Just one knock from just one of the 1000+ super-sized HGV movements could destroy them.

And what can we expect for Coldharbour Lane?  Well, expect it to be effectively completely closed for very long periods of time.  There will be a traffic light system set up, but if the lights are against you, the wait will be extremely extensive.  The only access between Coldharbour and Dorking may be via the narrow, winding Anstie Lane – in many places this lane has no passing places even for cars, let alone larger commercial vehicles. 

Are you one of the many keen cyclists who enjoy Leith Hill?  Expect great difficulties in getting up to or down from the hill for long periods as well as having to contend with the inevitable damage to the road surface that can be lethal for cyclists.

Fundraising Event

We are pleased to be able to announce our first fundraising event:

We are also busy planning other events, so watch this space!

Thanks for reading.

Patrick Nolan

Fundraising Committee, The Leith Hill Action Group

To feed back, ask questions or offer help, contact Patrick Nolan at pnoley@gmail.com

If you would like to make a donation, please either make a direct transfer to the LHAG account (sort code 09-01-27, account 37678874) or make cheques payable to “Leith Hill Action Group” and send to Patrick Nolan, Head of LHAG Fundraising, Oak Lodge, Anstie Lane, Surrey, RH5 6HA.  Please include your name and address in case we have the chance to return surplus funds.

Newsletter 1 (2nd February 2012)