Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Sunday, 12 July 2009 16:58 UK

Protest meeting over oil drilling

Coldharbour Lane
Europa said exploration at the site would last for 18 weeks

A public meeting is being staged in a Surrey village about plans to prospect for oil in nearby woodland.

The Leith Hill Action Group (LHAG), which is opposing the plans, was holding the meeting on Sunday.

Surrey County Council has asked for more details from Europa Oil and Gas which wants to go ahead with the plans for Bury Hill Wood.

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

Surrey County Council has said it will not consider the matter before 22 July, while it awaits more information.

Exploratory drilling

A spokesman for the LHAG said the meeting at the John Venus Hall in Coldharbour at 1600 BST would hear the latest on the planning process and a proposed campaign strategy.

LHAG has opposed the plan because the chosen site is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has 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 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 company previously said the exploration would be in a Forestry Commission plantation to avoid damaging ancient woodlands.

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

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