Feb 24th, 2018
Oil Drilling at Leith Hill
By Becca McCarthy
In a few weeks oil trucks, drills and heavy machinery could be criss-crossing our rolling hills on the hunt for oil. An oil company has applied to start drilling for oil in Leith Hill in the beautiful Surrey Hills.  And the Environment Agency just announced they are thinking about giving the drills the green light. 
But it’s not quite a done deal. The Environment Agency have given us three weeks to have our say before they make their final decision.  Already there’s been huge local and national opposition – over 90,000 of us have signed a petition opposing the drilling. 
If we’re going to persuade the Environment Agency to refuse permission, we need something clever. Drilling for oil in Leith Hill could have a huge impact on the nearby water – but right now the Environment Agency don’t think the risk is big enough to stop the drilling. 
If everyone reading this email chipped in a few pounds, we could hire a scientist to take water samples, carry out tests and write a hard-hitting report for the Environment Agency. That could provide the evidence needed to prove the risk to our environment is too big. Doing exactly this has stopped other drilling applications. 
But we need to act fast. The report will take three weeks and will cost £5,000. If we are going to do this we’ll need to raise enough money by tonight.
Leith Hill is an officially designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  But so far the Environment Agency are happy with assurances from the oil company.  Local campaigners think that’s not enough, but they can’t prove it right now. If we can get an expert “hydrogeologist” to study the area, we could prove that oil drilling isn’t worth the risk.
We’ll be paying for independent research that can be trusted. Local campaigners have got a scientist lined up to do the work right now, but they need help to pay for it. That’s the beauty of 38 Degrees, alone it’s hard to take on big oil companies, but together we can chip in for game changing tactics like this.
We know reports like this can be the thing to stop oil trucks in their tracks. Last year, when campaigners funded an expert report, a different oil company was forced to withdraw their bid to drill for oil in Markwells Wood, and are yet to submit another.  We can do the same for Leith Hill, but we need the money by tonight.
 GetSurrey: These are the oil drilling sites active or awaiting commission in and around Surrey:
BBC: Leith Hill drilling poses ‘risk to water supply’, claims water firm:
 Environment Agency: Environmental permit draft decision advertisement:
 See note 2
 38 Degrees: Don’t risk water pollution from oil drilling on Leith Hill:
 In the draft decision to grant permission for drilling the Environment Agency said:
“…the applicant provided sufficient information to show that the risks to the groundwater environment from the proposed design and specification of the well had been considered and were acceptable… As a result of the hydrogeological risk assessment already submitted we were satisfied that the broader risks to groundwater had been addressed.”
Environment Agency: Draft permitting decision for for Holmwood Wellsite operated by Europa Oil & Gas Limited:
The Wilderness Society: Seven ways oil and gas drilling is bad news for the environment:
EOLSS is the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s online Encyclopedia Of Life Support Systems. Their mission is to present a body of knowledge designed as a global guide to professional practice and education. This is their study on environmental impacts of the oil industry:
Drill or Drop: Everything you always wanted to know about acidising – detailed study by Kathryn McWhirter:
 Drill or Drop: UKOG drops oil production bid for Markwells Wood but promises new application in weeks:
 Surrey Hills – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty:
 See note 5
 See note 6