XR protests fossil fuels at Surrey County Council and Horse Hill

Today, rebels from across the South East took action outside Surrey’s County Hall and the Horse Hill drill site, as part of a coordinated action highlighting the links between fossil fuels and the climate and ecological emergency.

We are protesting at the Council’s decision to permit 20 years of oil production at Horse Hill, near Horley. The planning permission was granted in September just two months after the Council had declared a Climate Emergency and set a Zero Carbon target of 2050. Oil company UKOG now has the go-ahead to extract up to 3,500 barrels of oil every day for 20 years – thereby adding an estimated 10 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, at a time when the Council is claiming ambitious goals to reach carbon neutrality. Another application, for exploratory oil and gas drilling at Dunsfold also in Surrey, is due for decision in January.

At County Hall, our lighthouse prop was confiscated by police and we were prevented from entering the building where a Council meeting was taking place. But we held a dramatic protest outside.

At the same time, rebels blockaded the entrance of the Horse Hill oil production site. They locked themselves together to prevent vehicles from entering or leaving the site.

Molly of Extinction Rebellion, who locked on at Horse Hill, said, “We are paying UK Oil & Gas a visit to highlight that recent permissions will make Horse Hill the second largest onshore oil facility in the UK. They are not only contributing to climate chaos with 20 years of climate wrecking CO2 and methane emissions, but will also be using extreme extraction methods to produce tight oil from shale rock. It’s time everyone realised this is a real emergency and that companies like UKOG have to go.”

Carol, at County Hall, said, “As citizens of the UK, it is our duty to stand up for people who suffer now and will suffer in the future as the world gets warmer, food and water run short, and the oceans rise and swallow many cities. We have to do whatever we can to stop this. We need politicians who are willing to think long term and act quickly.”

The two actions are part of coordinated actions to highlight the gap between carbon production plans and the reductions required to reach net zero before we are locked into runaway global heating under the seasonal banner: ‘10 Lords-A-Leaping Through the Hoops of the Fossil Fuel Industry’.