Activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) staged a demonstration outside Surrey County Council (SCC) Town Hall in Kingston today (December 10).

Police attended the protest outside the Town Hall building in Kingston, which coincided with a SCC meeting.

Footage taken at the scene showed activists from XR being covered in a black substance resembling oil.

Others from the environmental movement attempted to erect a makeshift lighthouse that was confiscated by police before being returned.

The demonstrators were primarily protesting the approval of new oil and gas extraction wells at an extraction site in Horse Hill by SCC, which was signed off by councillors earlier this year.

Several protestors also descended on the Horse Hill site itself in coordination with the primary demo in Kingston.

Responding to a request from the Comet, a spokesperson for XR Surrey said that the actions were protesting the development of new fossil fuel extractions at a time when scientists say we need to reduce our use of fossil fuels that create carbon emissions rather than increase them.

The demonstration was "part of a coordinated action highlighting the links between fossil fuels and the climate and ecological emergency", a spokesperson for Surrey XR said.

XR activist James Knapp added the following statement:

"Science says we need to urgently bring greenhouse gas emissions down to net zero to prevent climate catastrophe.

"But the Surrey councillors instead supported plans to increase supplies of oil. They had an opportunity to vote to leave this oil in the ground – and they didn’t take it.

"We are here to remind them that they need to turn away from business as usual and take the bold decisions necessary to avert disaster."

The Met Police told the Comet they had attended the protest in Kingston and confirmed that no arrests had been made.

"Police attended Surrey County Council Headquarters in Kingston on the morning of Tuesday, December 10 due to a protest taking place.

"Some equipment was seized from the protesters due to concerns it would be used to obstruct council business. The equipment has been returned to the protesters.

"No arrests have been made," a Met Police spokesperson said.

XR's Carol Foussat meanwhile commented on the motivating factors behind Tuesday's demonstration.

The climate activist said it was the duty of UK citizens to protest policies that will contribute to the present and future damage anticipated by climate breakdown:

"We can all see the writing on the wall with the climate emergency, yet the politicians are not moving quickly enough to save us from the worst possible future.

"As citizens of the UK, it is our duty to stand up for people who suffer now and will suffer in the future as the world gets warmer, food and water run short, and the oceans rise and swallow many cities.

"We have to do whatever we can to stop this. We need politicians who are willing to think long term and act quickly," she said.

Councillors on SCC voted to approve the opening of four new hydrocarbon wells at the Horse Hill site in Horley on September 11.

The site is run by Horse Hill Developments Limited, a subsidiary of UK Oil and Gas.

A spokesperson for SCC told the Comet: 

"We declared a Climate Emergency in July and the work of our Green Task force has been discussed at this morning’s Council meeting...

"There has never been any applications for fracking in Surrey and the county council would not be the authority to license this.  The council only has powers within the legal planning framework and had no legal justification to block the recent application for a conventional oil well and associated infrastructure at Horse Hill."

Horse Hill Developments Limited were contacted for comment.