Seismic Activity in Mole Valley
Councillor Vivienne Michael, Leader of Mole Valley District Council, has issued the following statement:
"We understand and share our residents' concerns about the recent increase in seismic activity in the District and have noted the call for an immediate moratorium on drilling, re-injection and flow testing in the area from several leading academic experts (The Times, August 6th 2018).
"We appreciate that the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) believes there is currently no evidence to conclude there is a causal link between recent seismic events and the two oil sites in the immediate area at Horse Hill and Brockham, and that the Brockham well site has been in production on and off for around twenty years. However, a link cannot be completely ruled out. We have therefore been in touch with Surrey County Council (SCC), which is the mineral planning authority in this case, to ensure that they are aware of the level of concern and to urge them to take the necessary and appropriate action.
"Under National Planning Practice Guidance, the mitigation of seismic risk is one of the hydrocarbon issues that mineral planning authorities can leave to other regulatory regimes and we understand that SCC has been liaising with the Environment Agency, British Geological Survey, Health and Safety Executive and the Oil and Gas Authority as the main regulatory bodies involved.
"The British Geological Survey (BGS) has installed five seismic monitoring stations in the area but has stated that they are not currently able to say if there is a connection between oil and gas or other man-made activities and the events. We understand that further work may be able to determine if any connection exists, but that the BGS have given no timescale for how long this may take.
"We are calling on the BGS and the OGA to clarify this and to take any further action necessary to ensure that, if drilling, re-injection and flow testing are implicated, these activities are curtailed or stopped completely and our residents' concerns addressed."