An extended deadline – PAWS for thought…not oil

Update January 2010  

Europa Oil and Gas has submitted additional application information to Surrey County Council. Although some of this was ecological it did not allay our concerns and we have not withdrawn our objection.  If you have already objected your objection will still be taken into account.   

Despite the additional information we heard the news today that Mole Valley District Council has registered on objection with Surrey County Council. As a quick summary Mole Valley are objecting to the proposals as they are highly intensive and intrusive, impacting on the surrounding environment of local and national importance. They also did not think that over-riding need had been demonstrated by the applicant to outweigh this harm.  

This is good news – it is now up to Surrey County Council to formally decide the application. We will update here as soon as we hear.  


Ancient woodland is under threat from oil drilling and we need your help to try and save it!  

Europa Oil and Gas has applied to drill for oil at Bury Hill Wood in Surrey.  

We are very concerned about these plans and have already registered our objection. Thousands of people have already done so – we need more people to send their objection into Surrey Country Council too… it’s not too late! Keep reading for details.  

Bury Hill Wood is a PAWS (plantation ancient woodland site) wood. Between the 1930s and 1980s, hundreds of thousands of hectares of ancient woodland were replanted, mostly with commercial conifers or a mixture of conifers and broadleaved trees.  The Woodland Trust is working hard to restore PAWS in our own woods and we want to see the sensitive and appropriate restoration of all ancient woods planted with conifers that are not native to the site.   


Plantation ancient woodland sites may not seem as attractive as other woodlands, but they are just as vital

This application is for a hydrocarbon exploration site (or ‘oil well’ as most people know it) which will result in the loss of 0.74 hectares (1.8 acres) of this precious ancient woodland, part of Abinger Forest.  The ‘testing phase’ (or continous drilling activity) of the application will last a minimum of 5 weeks, however depending on what is found the works this could last significantly longer.  As well as the complete loss of almost 2 acres of ancient woodland, constructing a bore hole involves the mobilisation of a drilling rig and related equipment – which will require highways access – and track improvements, all of which will further disturb the vulnerable habitat and wildlife reliant on what ancient woodland will remain.  Once gone, ancient woodland cannot be recreated – the interactions between plants, animals, soils, climate and people are unique and have developed over hundreds of years.    

The planning application is currently being considered by Surrey County Council (SCC) and there is still time for you to influence their decision!  

We are very concerned about these plans and have already registered our objection. We need more people to send their objection into Surrey Country Council too.   

Further information about the application and the campaign being run by local community is here:  You can see more about the plans here, searching under application reference SCC REF 2008/0169/PS.  

Please write a personalised letter of objection, to reach Surrey County Council by 9th September 2009. Your letter will count with SCC as an objection provided it is received by this date, which is the day of determination by Committee.  

Some of the issues you might consider in your objection are included on our webpage – which also has the address to write to if you prefer to send a letter – or you can email (quoting reference SCC REF 2008/0169/PS).   

Please copy us in too –   You CAN make a difference by registering your objection. Thank you.  

More than 1,000 people have now registered their opposition to these plans to build a 120ft-high rig to look for oil under the Surrey Hills via the local community-led campaign, Leith Hill Action Group.  Anyone who is opposed to the proposals can get more details and also register their objections by visiting


About Kaye Brennan

Trying vegan, staying warm. Occasional bursts of words.
This entry was posted in Climate Change, Conservation, England, Northern Ireland, Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS), Scotland, Wales, Woods Under Threat, WoodWatch and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to An extended deadline – PAWS for thought…not oil

  1. Kaye Brennan says:

    Jack Moore commented: What needs to be remembered, also, is that if an exploratory drilling does find oil then there will be pressure to further develop the surroundings to allow commercial exploitation.

  2. Pingback: Kingsnorth decision shows that the people have a powerful voice – but coal is still threatening ancient woodland «

  3. norma says:

    We need trees, we do not want them destroyed. Too many trees throughout Britain are being destroyed for roads and housing builds and business parks that are not being used. Please leave the trees alone.

  4. pat says:


    As you will probably know the biggest threat to wildlife in these matters is usually politicians


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