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Ancient woodland threatened by oil drilling help us try and save it!

Paul Andrews | 09.04.2009 12:35 | Ecology | Free Spaces | South Coast

Europa Oil and Gas has applied to drill for oil at Bury Hill Wood which is part of the Abinger Forest, Surrey. The hydrocarbon exploration site (or oil well as most people know it!) will result in the loss of 0.74 hectares (1.8 acres) of precious ancient woodland.

The testing phase of the application will last a minimum of five weeks, however depending on what is found the works could last significantly longer.

Ancient Bury Hill Wood
Ancient Bury Hill Wood

Threatened by oil drilling
Threatened by oil drilling


To construct a hydrocarbon exploration bore hole will include the mobilisation of a drilling rig and equipment requiring highways access, loss of ancient woodland and track improvements, all of which will disturb the ancient woodland’s habitat and wildlife. Once gone ancient woodland ( ) can not be recreated.

Planning application:

A planning application is currently being considered by Surrey County Council (SCC) and there is still time for you to influence their decision. Read more about the plans here searching under application reference:
SCC REF 2008/0169/PS

Take action now

We are very concerned about these plans and have registered our objection. We need you to send your objection into Surrey Country Council too. Please write your own letter - below are some of the issues you might consider including:

There will be direct loss of ancient woodland which is the equivalent of the UK’s rainforest. Ancient woodland is technically protected under Planning Policy Statement 9 ( )
but there are caveats and the planning authority needs to be reminded of this protection.

The disturbance of areas surrounding the site will impact significantly on the flora and fauna of the wood. For example bird song will be masked by the noise of continuous drilling and this makes it difficult for birds to hear their mates.
As a way to make up for the loss of ancient woodland the applicant plans to remove the top soil, store it for the duration of the project and then replace it and replant with trees. This "mitigation" is unsuitable ( ) for ancient woodland as part of the value of ancient woodland is the undisturbed nature of the soils, which will obviously be completely destroyed by these activities.
Further information about the application is here:

Each household member should write a personalised letter of objection to SCC to reach both by 1st April. If you miss this deadline write anyway. Your letter will "count" with SCC provided it is received by 23rd April.

Register your objection (quoting reference 2008/0169/ PS) with Surrey County Council by emailing or write to:

Hilary Herbert
Planning Manager
Environment & Regulation
Surrey County Council
County Hall

Send us a copy of your objection e-mail to:

Europa Oil and Gas:

Europa Oil & Gas plc
UK Office
11 The Chambers
OX14 3PX

tel: +44 (0)1235 553 266

fax: +44 (0)1235 467 369


Paul Andrews
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Display the following 3 comments

  1. Got another pic? — anon
  2. Ditto — treehugger
  3. ancient woods — sim