Sunday, 16 July 2017

Oil drilling and fracking in the Surrey Hills



'Having been harrassd by too much thinking and too many trivial engagements, and an employment that I shall never like, I determined that I would respire one mouthfull of real country air if possible and I know at the same time that pollution of smoke reaches ten miles round the Metropolis. I had heard much of Leithe Hills and of Box Hill in the neighbourhood of Dorking. . . . Remember that I am no Welshman, therefore to me these Hills are Cader Idris's and Snowdens.— (The Letters of Robert Bloomfield: to George Bloomfield, 17 April 1803)'.

John Clare's Swaddywell  Landyke Trust

So I wonder what his friend and defender of the environment, John Clare, would have made of the current plans for oil drilling at Leith Hill; that threaten archeological and wildlife features alike. Some of the ancient droves and sunken lanes will be destroyed by vehicular movements and current wisdom suggests that oil drilling carries the same risk of water contamination as does fracking. It is a paradym shift in the way we now view the environment and its dwindling resources.





John Clare had absolute clarity on the roots and impacts of privatisation on our natural heritage, as common land disappeared under the Enclosure Acts, leaving rural folk alienated and forced into penury. Two lost springs in Helpston village were described thus:

vile enclosure rifld thine
mine in manhoods trouble fell
I sympathise thy  fate wi mine
I love thee passing well

He also incredulously recorded: ..."avarice is never conquored, such is the cunning of avarice [that] like the tricks of a conjuror [it] defies detection."

Friends and colleagues are so incredulous that this could even happen - far too much to compute- the import is passing them by. For them the links are here:  www.surreycommunity.info/lhag/


The Surrey Hills sits on the fifth largest oil field in the UK and prospective drilling tests are set to begin this year. There may be an oil rig on top of  Leith Hill in the near future.

Specifically, the area or and around Leith Hill is where Europa Oil & Gas (in conjunction with the UK government) are interested in extracting an estimated five million barrels’ of oil under the hills.

Europa Oil & Gas will apparently be attempting to horizontally drill using a rig that passes under Coldharbour Village. This on its own will entail cutting down a hectare of trees and constructing a lofty and highly visible drilling rig.
The Surrey Hills has a degree of protection because it is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty but the slide down the slippery slope has started. Local campaigners have set up a protest group on Facebook

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