Back in 2003, a vigilant local spotted the planing application to drill Leith Hill. He alerted the community of Coldharbour, who created Leith Hill Action Group in order to make themselves heard. For seven years, this group has tirelessly petitioned, researched and represented the interests of Leith Hill. Thanks in part to them, the council ruled to reject the application, at which point the battle looked like it had been won.
No such luck. Europa sought the high courts, and the county council’s decision was overturned. The sitting judge was Justice Ouseley, infamous for his rulings being thrown out under the European Convention of human rights.
This was challenged by the Leith Hill action Group to no avail, and so here we are, at a physical standoff, between our local community’s protectors and the employees of a major oil corporation.
In June 2017, the camp was evicted over a two day operation involving specialist climbing & tunneling bailiffs. 24 hour security has been in place ever since, however, no work has yet started on the site because Europa doesn’t yet have:
– permission from Surrey County Council to bring heavy traffic up Coldharbour Lane – next decision date is late May 2018
– A permit from the Environment Agency – their consultation closed on 29th March 2018, we are now waiting for their response. Independent reports commissioned by campaigners showed serious problems with Europa’s understanding of the geology and plans for the site
The camp has moved across the road, it is now directly opposite the site.
If we do not win this fight, the fate of our green and pleasant land is in grave danger.