‘Mixed’ views expected over oil field north of Gatwick

Horley people will have ‘mixed reactions’ to the news up to 100bn barrels of oil was found at a nearby well, said Horley Town Council chairman.

UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) said last year’s drilling at Horse Hill showed the Weald Basin had 158m barrels of oil per square mile.

Chief executive Stephen Sanderson said it meant The Weald area could yield up to 30 per cent of the UK’s oil demand.

Council chairman Cllr Richard Olliver (Con, Horley North East) said: “It must be done in a way that takes into account local views.

“Traffic is something people worry about, we have had an awful lot of road works in East Surrey lately and the disruption it causes.

“I can see some people will not like it and other people thinking it’s brilliant but it depends what effect it has on the locality.”

Cllr Olliver said if work to extract the oil went ahead Horse Hill, the road from Horley to a village north-west of Gatwick, Norwood Hill, would need to be redesigned to avoid traffic jams.

A spokesman for the village’s residents association said it would remain ‘watchful for the interests of local residents’.

He said: “UKOG has yet to carry out tests on this reserve to assess whether it will flow.

“It has also to clarify where this reserve lies and how it is to be accessed.”

Charlwood is a village south of the oil well.

Following the UKOG announcement, its parish council stated it could not comment on the impact of oil extraction until full details of future proposals were known. Its statement added: “The parish council’s concern will always be to consider the best interest of local residents, their homes and their quality of life.”