The oil drilling firm targeting popular riding territory in the Surrey Hills has announced that it will pull its project in the region.
Having fought a ten-year battle with protesters at the site, Europa Oil and Gas told shareholders that it will pull its presence, with the Forestry Commission opting not to renew the lease for the Holmwood site. The current lease expires in just under a week’s time.
Protesters had set up camp on the site for an eight month stint, but were evicted from the site in June of 2017. They then set up adjacent to the drill site.
A petition that had surpassed 100,000 signatures was largely overlooked, with the Environment Agency granting site permissions as recently as July of this year.
The Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has now opted to not renew leases on the land, leading Europa to issue the following statement:
“Following the Minister’s decision, the Company, on behalf of its partners, will be withdrawing its planning application to drill the Holmwood prospect from the Bury Hill Wood site.
“The Company, with its partners, intends to undertake a full evaluation of alternative sites from which to target the Holmwood prospect, and other plays in the licence.”
Exploratory work had begun to take place, but the oil and gas firm had been hit with delays due to traffic management through the area. Little progress toward fracking was actually made during the stint on site, much to the relief of locals.
The entire area is prime stomping ground for mountain bikers, leisure cyclists and road riders in the south of England, with numerous industry brands opting to host demo days and photoshoots amongst the picturesque woodland.
Local retailer Pedal & Spoke, which offers bike demos, is ideally placed for those heading out into the surrounding areas.