Page last updated at 14:17 GMT, Thursday, 23 April 2009 15:17 UK

Oil drilling decision is delayed

Coldharbour Lane
Europa said exploration would last 18 weeks

A decision has been postponed over whether to go ahead with controversial plans to prospect for oil in woods in Surrey.

Surrey County Council said it wanted more details from Europa Oil and Gas, which wants to go ahead with the plans for Bury Hill Wood.

The council said it would now not consider the matter before 22 July.

Europa previously said that an environmental impact assessment at the site had been "very good".

Exploratory drilling

Europa Oil and Gas Ltd has submitted a planning application to conduct exploratory drilling for oil in the woods, near Holmwood, for 18 weeks using a 35m (115ft) drilling rig.

The Leith Hill Action Group (LHAG) has opposed the plans and had previously urged other people against the plans to contact the council.

LHAG said the chosen site was in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and urged Europa to find an alternative location.

The group said it was also concerned that lorries going through the area would cause "considerable detrimental impact" to the access route, Coldharbour Lane, and its banks.

Europa previously said the environmental impact assessment for the site had been "very good" and exploration would be in a Forestry Commission plantation to avoid damaging ancient woodlands.

Paul Barrett, Europa's managing director, also said the firm would reduce the impact and damage caused by lorries.

People have until 21 June to comment on the plans.

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