Activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) locked themselves together to block the entrance of the UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) subsidiary site at Horse Hill, Horley, on Monday (June 1).

The peaceful environmental protestors were attempting to disrupt and halt production at the fossil fuel extraction site.

Early on Monday morning, XR activists from Surrey and Kingston infiltrated the site to disrupt its extraction while others chained themselves together outside the entrance to prevent access to the site.

A Surrey Police spokesperson told the Comet four protestors had been arrested in the course of the action on Monday.

In a statement about the protests seen by the Comet, a spokesperson for XR Surrey said:

“Today’s action calls on the UK Government to seize on this opportunity, to stop funding oil and gas extraction in the UK and to invest in a green recovery.

“In 2019, both the UK Government and Surrey County Council (SCC) declared a climate emergency. Yet in September 2019, SCC granted Horse Hill Developments Ltd a licence to extract oil for 20 years...This is totally incompatible with ensuring a safe future for generations to come.”

Climate scientists worldwide have cited the “devastating” consequences continued fossil fuel extraction will have for humans, animals and plantlife in the coming years.

Surrey Police said they made the arrests after a dialogue with the protests who had prevented access to the site during the day.

Police cited “personal responsibilities” regarding the coronavirus pandemic in a statement released Monday:

“Four people have been arrested following a protest at the drilling site in Horse Hill, Horley, today (1 June). Officers attended following reports that protestors were preventing a number of vehicles from making deliveries to the site,” police described.

“The protestors arrived at the site around 4am this morning and officers attended to engage...The right to protest is well established...however personal responsibility is now key and we are reminding people who are able to leave their homes as a result of the changes, to think carefully about where they are going and how they will be able to keep their distance from others.

“We would also ask that people keep in mind the purpose of the regulations and the national effort to protect the NHS and save lives,” a Surrey Police spokesperson said.

XR said that the protestors physically distanced to minimize their impact regarding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Chris, one of those who occupied the site, said they had no other choice in the face of the climate crisis.

“We are now at a crossroads in the human story. We can return to ‘business as usual’, condemning humanity and the planet to suffering and ultimately extinction. Or we can take a new path and have a chance of heading off the worst. I am here on behalf of my nieces and nephews and all future generations to say it has to be worth trying. It’s the last chance we have.”