Retrospective Application For Disputed Sidetrack at Brockham – Points for Objection

Comments can still be made on this application until 7 August, 12 noon.  Please copy them to

Please also read a related blog written after we have discovered the shocking regulatory loophole at Brockham and received Prof David Smythe’s representation.

Angus Energy are back at their wellsite at Feltons Farm, Old School Lane and have restarted pumping oil from one of their two  existing wells, BRX2Y.

Angus have ALSO submitted a planning application to Surrey County Council, which is in 3 parts for:

  • the retention of their other existing well BRX4;
  • the retrospective regularisation of the side track (BRX4Z) they drilled from this well without permission in January 2017; and
  • appraisal of the production potential from this side track, BRX4Z, for a temporary period of three years.

The middle part is application for retrospective permission for the drilling that Angus did in Brockham last January, which DID NOT HAVE PLANNING PERMISSION

The oil field has been here for years, why are we concerned about Angus Energy now?   This is the oil company that:

  • was told in 2014 by consultants commissioned by Angus itself that there was no planning permission to drill at Brockham.
  • ignored two letters from the planning authority that said it needed planning permission to drill. They drilled anyway and then threatened to sue the council if they said they didn’t have permission.
  • didn’t know which well was which, and set up its rig on the wrong wellhead.
  • requested permission for 24 hour working for safety reasons, but but it appears this was to disguise the drilling of a new well all through the night, and over the following 6 days and nights, in contravention of conditions of the permission they were thought to be working under.
  • when local people asked what the noise, lights and activity in the middle of the night were, told the Council it was “Security Lights”. But it wasn’t, they were drilling a new well!

What have they done, or say that they are going to do, for the Brockham village? Absolutely nothing. They have also declined to present their proposals to villagers in a meeting.  So why should they be granted planning permission?

We believe Angus are not responsible operators and this application should be refused. (For more on the history of Angus at Brockham, click here).

Among other issues that you may wish comment to the planning authority on are:

  • Traffic on local roads and access to the wellsite. Angus Energy propose up to 24 HGV movements (12 loads) on any day. This is compared to 2 tanker movements per week in recent years. Traffic will be routed from the A24 in South Holmwood along Old School Lane, Root Hill, Red Lane, Blackbrook Road and Mill Road.)
  • The duration of the permission being sought – 3 years. This is considerably longer than is normally required for an appraisal application, typically 4 to 6 months. This application is for appraisal of the newly targeted rocks, but Angus have been telling their investors that they’re going straight into commercial production.
  • The possible future use of acidisation and/or fracking to “stimulate” the flow of oil from unyielding rocks (different than those targeted so far). Angus sought permission to use of acid and other dangerous chemicals for well cleaning in their permit application to the Environment Agency, but have NOT mentioned this in their Planning Statement. Although at this stage Angus say that they will not frack, the planning authority would not be able to stop them in the future if they grant this application now.
  • Emissions to air and the treatment of natural gas from the well – Angus Energy propose a 12-metre high emergency flare stack, together with a large (375 kVA) gas powered portable generator to burn off the gas and generate electricity.
  • Flood risk. Angus say in their Planning Statement that the site is “at negligible risk from surface water flooding”, but they have not carried out a formal flood risk assessment.
  • The risk of a major incident. There is no mention of major accident or major incident risk in Angus Energy’s Planning Statement.
  • The UK’s commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Climate Change Act, 2008.

Representation by Brockham Oil Watch to SCC – Final


To find out more and respond to this planning application you can:

  • Visit the online register of planning applications at Surrey County Council here.
  • Representations can be made by via the SCC portal, via email to (please copy the case officer: or by post to Caroline Smith, Planning Development Manager, Planning Development Group, Surrey County Council, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DY.
  • You can see the representations made here (does not include representations by consultees). 

Please remember to provide your name and address, the application number/reference MO/2018/0444 / SCC Ref 2017/0215 and to state the reason why you are writing (e.g. as a local resident) in any representation. Please state clearly that you are OBJECTING to this application (assuming of course you are).

This application is scheduled to be decided at Surrey County Council’s Planning and Regulatory Committee meeting on 8th August, 10:30 am, to be held in the Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN. 


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