Court Rejects Climate Challenge to Oil Field Near London Airport

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An activist’s effort to block oil drilling near London’s Gatwick Airport on the grounds that it would worsen climate change was rejected.

A High Court judge dismissed a legal challenge from Sarah Finch, supported by the Weald Action Group, to the development of theHorse Hill field, its main investor U.K. Oil & Gas Plcsaid on Tuesday.


Shares of the company rose 12% to 0.14 pence as of 8:26 a.m. in London.

The legal challenge highlighted the tensions between the U.K.’s efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and its status as a significant producer of oil and gas.

The Horse Hill discovery has been controversial since it wasannounced in 2015. Most of the country’s oil and gas resources are far offshore in the North Sea, but this particular field lies in densely populated southeast England.

U.K. Oil & Gas argues that pumping oil and gas responsibly in the country would be less carbon-intensive that importing it from elsewhere.

“This is a victory for law and common sense,” Stephen Sanderson, the company’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Production will thus continue at Horse Hill to ensure that each highly regulated barrel we produce is one less higher carbon footprint and less regulated barrel imported.”

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