In a time of the climate emergency, and in the light of the approaching COP26 where the UK will be leading global efforts to tackle climate change, we ask that the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) – Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, remove his department from defending a decision to grant permission for 20 years of oil production at Horse Hill in Surrey.
It was revealed in an article in The Times that he has "recused himself from involvement in the case because his constituency is close to the site of the proposed oil field".
This is not good enough. His department needs to withdraw completely from the case. In his new role to deliver a planning system that meets the Government’s targets for Net Zero and urgent decarbonisation of the economy, his department's involvement in the Horse Hill case makes a mockery of any climate change commitments.
Local resident, Sarah Finch who is the claimant in this important case, is challenging the decision by Surrey County Council on the grounds that all the carbon emissions should have been assessed before permission was granted for expansion at Horse Hill. The case [Sarah Finch vs Surrey County Council] is being heard in the Court of Appeal 16-17 November.
We insist the Secretary of State, in his new role, immediately withdraws his department from the case. Getting to grips with threats to our climate security is rightly at the top of the Government’s priorities and will be in the spotlight in the run up to COP26. Aligning itself with the interests of an oil developer, Horse Hill Developments Ltd, puts the Government in direct opposition to the move away from fossil fuels and the focus on investment in green jobs, green technology and energy efficiency.
Friends of the Earth has published a list of 4 cases that threaten the UK's climate reputation and you can find Horse Hill listed here.
For further updates please head to Weald Action Group website.