This letter was sent to Surrey County Council on 16 April:
SCC Ref 2018/0152 – Horse Hill Oil Well Site
We write to express the deep concern of our community in Newdigate Parish regarding the ‘swarm’ of earthquakes – totalling 23 in number so far – that have been registered by the British Geological Survey in and around our Parish area since Easter Saturday 2018. This initial tremor registered 2.6 on the Richter Scale, with the strongest so far registering a magnitude of 3.1, occurring at 03:42hrs on Wednesday 27th February 2019; this tremor was significant enough to rate a prominent position on national news bulletins.
There is a strongly-held belief in our community that these earthquakes are being triggered by the drilling that is taking place at the Horse Hill Road site near Hookwood, Surrey operated by UK Oil and Gas. The earthquakes commenced soon after drilling started and the belief is that these continuing events are related. When one considers that the last significant earthquake in Surrey was felt in the mid 18th Century it is clear that the community is justified in their current concerns. The question that is rightly being asked is: ‘Are we heading towards a devastating earthquake?’
The British Geological Survey and the Oil and Gas Authority have reported their findings concerning the earthquakes and both have concluded that these are natural events unrelated to the drilling at the Horse Hill site, ‘no evidence of a causal link’ as it was reported officially. However, a group of academics at the University of Edinburgh led by Professor Stuart Hazeldine, have reached a different conclusion, and report that, in its view, there is a causal link.
We, as a community, have limited scientific knowledge of the drilling process and the geology into which this is taking place. We do, however, have very real concerns that there are groups of professionals and academics in this field that are in complete disagreement and we need to know, definitively and in very short order, what the answer is to the question of a causal link.
Our demand, on behalf of our community, is for a halt to all drilling at the Horse Hill site until it can be established, with scientific certainty, what the reasons are for the earthquakes. Having professional groups in complete disagreement on the causes is extremely worrying to us all; a halt to drilling to ascertain the precise causes is surely a small price to pay compared with the possibility of a significant earthquake occurring that would be damaging to both life and property over a wide area.
Thus the residents would object to the approval of this Planning Application until such research has been conducted.
Yours faithfully, Newdigate Parish Council