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Surrey Hills oil drilling application abandoned

Words: Huw Morris
Surrey Hills - iStock

A controversial planning application to drill for oil in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) in Surrey has been withdrawn.

Europa Oil and Gas had applied to carry out exploratory drilling at Bury Hill Wood on Forestry Commission land in the Surrey Hills AONB.

But environment secretary Michael Gove, who is MP for Surrey Heath, decided not to renew a lease for the work, which expires next week. The decision was taken because of the potential impact on nearby ancient woodland.

Europa chief executive officer Hugh Mackay said the decision was “disappointing”.

The site has been the focus for a decade-long battle with campaigners, with a protest camp evicted last year.

Image credit | iStock