Permission granted in joined legal challenges to exploratory gas well in Surrey

Oil Drill

Following an oral renewal hearing in the Planning Court, environmental activists and a Borough Council have obtained permission to bring two legal challenges to the grant of planning permission by the Secretary of State to company UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) for exploratory gas drilling in Surrey. The site in question lies in an Area of Great Landscape Value, adjacent to the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The two grounds of challenge granted permission by Lane J concern the weighting exercise for development that is found to harm Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the principle of consistency in decision-making in the context of unmitigated greenhouse gas emissions.

Permission was refused on the Claimants’ other grounds of challenge.

Jenny Wigley KC acts for Waverley Borough Council, instructed by Andrew Swaffer of Sharpe Pritchard. She represented Surrey County Council at the planning inquiry.

Alex Shattock acts for Protect Dunsfold Ltd with support from the Good Law Project, led by Estelle Dehon KC of Cornerstone Barristers. They are instructed by Ricardo Gama and Madeeha Akhtar of Leigh Day.

Guy Williams acts for the Secretary of State, leading Ben Du Feu of Cornerstone Barristers.

David Elvin KC and Matthew Dale-Harris act for UKOG, who they represented at the planning inquiry.

The grant of permission has been reported in the Guardian, ITV News, Planning Resource and Surrey Live. The challenge was previously reported on the BBC.

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