County councillors in Surrey are being urged not to accept their officials’ assessment of the benefits of gas exploration near the village of Dunsfold.
Officers have recommended approval of proposals by UK Oil & Gas plc (UKOG) when the application is considered by the planning committee on Friday (27 November 2020). But the community group, Protect Dunsfold, said UKOG had been allowed to use “unsubstantiated” and “generally unsupportable assertions” about the proposals.
The company has said the gasfield was potentially the UK’s second biggest onshore and could produce energy equivalent to that needed to power about 200,000 homes per year. In a briefing document released today, Protect Dunsfold said UKOG should be required to provide evidence to back up its statements. The council should also independently verify UKOG’s claims, the group said.
Its director, Sarah Godwin, said:
“we have asked SCC [Surrey County Council] Councillors not to accept the officers’ assessment of the “strategic benefits” claimed by UKOG and to prefer the actual evidence.”
“UKOG has continued to make potentially exaggerated assertions without providing hard evidence to support them.
“The [company] has completely failed to demonstrate with hard facts as to why the benefits of drilling the well will outweigh the harm to local businesses and developments.”
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Councillors have narrowly turned down plans to drill for oil and gas at Dunsfold in Surrey for a second time. Members of the county council’s planning committee voted by six to five to refuse planning permission to UK Oil & Gas plc (UKOG) for its proposed Loxley wellsite.