Major oil drilling planned for Horley

Horse Hill Developments Ltd, the company drilling for oil near Horley, have published expansion plans which, if allowed, would make Horse Hill the UK’s second largest onshore producing site on current figures.

They want to drill five more wells – giving a total of seven (one for waste water re-injection) – and produce more than 500 tonnes of oil a day.

So far they have submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Request, which you can read on the Horse Hill Developments Ltd website.

The plans include:

  • expanding the site area
  • gas flaring
  • “significant noise”
  • 32 HGV movements a day for 20 years

They say the proposals “would significantly change the landscape” and have “an adverse effect upon valued landscapes“.

You can read a summary of the proposals on the Drill or Drop website.

This would be the first full-scale oil production operation in the South East of England, where the geology means that a multitude of wells and unconventional extraction techniques including acid stimulation are required. It is the trailblazer for the new generation of onshore oil that companies like HHDL are pushing.

In 2016 Stephen Sanderson, Chairman of Horse Hill Developments Ltd, said, “This type of oil deposit very much depends on being able to drill your wells almost back to back so it becomes very much like an industrialised process.”

Greens oppose these plans.  We are concerned about the risks of:

  • Air pollution from flares, generators, traffic and other equipment.
  • Water pollution from the well bores, spills and faults. Acidisation produces large volumes of toxic waste water that no one knows how to treat safely and economically.
  • Health impacts – in the USA and Australia, people and animals living close to drill sites have suffered skin, lung, heart, and other complaints. 
  • Earthquakes, especially if waste water is re-injected. Geologists have not ruled out a possible causal link between the operations at Horse Hill and Brockham and the earthquakes this year, and HHDL has not made available the data needed to reach a conclusion in this case. The scientific community say that oil drilling, fracturing of rocks and water re-injection, in particular, can cause changes to the underlying geology that can trigger earthquakes.
  • Industrialisation of the countryside. Horse Hill is in the Green Belt.
  • Climate breakdown. The world has just had the starkest warning yet from the scientific community about the challenge of climate change. We know that the window of opportunity to transform to a sustainable zero-carbon economy is rapidly closing. It makes no sense to continue to invest in fossil fuel projects – and doing so will make it impossible for the UK to meet our government’s own climate targets.

Public Meeting: 23 October

We’ve joined with the Weald Action Group and Frack Free Surrey to host a public meeting to discuss the proposals and how we can respond. Come and learn more about the proposals from Green Cllr Jonathan Essex and members of the Weald Action Group.

It’s at 7.45pm on Tuesday 23 October at the Catholic Church Hall, 4 Vicarage Lane, Horley RH6 8AR. All welcome.




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  1. Michael
    Posted November 4, 2018 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Really looking forward to the Gov pushing the panning through as this will help the UK after we leave the EU.
    Much better than buying of the murderous Saudi,s
    Wake up it’s happening for the good
    Check out Whych farm near Poole

    • bryn
      Posted November 21, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Hello Michael

      Thanks for your comment. It’s a bit of a tired old argument by now though surely (although ‘murderous Saudis’ gives it a bit of a contemporary spin).

      We need to be reducing our fossil fuel consumption, not finding new places to get it from. We already know the whereabouts of far more oil and gas than we can ever use, and you must have heard of the new UN report reminding us that we don’t have much time to get on with it.

      Waking up is urgently needed all right, by those who think we can just carry on as we are.

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