Page last updated at 17:32 GMT, Monday, 24 August 2009 18:32 UK

Trust objects to oil drill plan

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

The National Trust has objected to plans to drill for oil in woods in Surrey, it has been revealed.

The organisation said exploration plans by Europa Oil and Gas Ltd to drill in Bury Hill Wood would have an "adverse environmental impact".

It said there would be an "unacceptable impact" on green belt land and an Area of Outstanding Nature Beauty.

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

Ancient woodland

A spokeswoman for the National Trust said: "We believe that the proposal will have unacceptable adverse environmental impacts particularly in terms of landscape, visual amenity, traffic and access which cannot be satisfactorily mitigated.

She added there was no "national need" for the proposal and that it was against government policy.

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

A group called the Leith Hill Action Group (LHAG) has also 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 company previously said the exploration would be in a Forestry Commission plantation to avoid damaging ancient woodland and it would reduce the impact and damage caused by lorries.


A change in tax law could help to step up exploration elsewhere in British shires

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