Four activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) will appear in court after being charged with criminal offences following their occupation of a fossil fuel extraction site in Horley Monday (June 1).

Early on Monday morning XR activists gained access to the extraction site at Horse Hill in Horley that's owned by a subsidiary of UK Oil and Gas (UKOG).

While two protestors staged a sit in occupation on top of a container inside the compound, two others obstructed access to the site by chaining themselves together outside the entrance.

Surrey Police, who later arrived and arrested the four demonstrators involved, told the Comet that all four had since been charged and faced court appearances next month.

"In relation to this incident, four people have been charged as follows:

"Venetia Carter, 56, of Brighton and Margaret Mulowska, 32, of Shepperton have been charged with intimidation or annoyance by violence to prevent lawful activity.

"Christopher Smith, 43, of New Malden, and Simon Sinclair, 30, of Brighton have been charged with aggravated trespass.

"All four charged have been released on conditional bail until their appearance at Guildford Magistrates Court on 7 July," a spokesperson for Surrey Police said.

Surrey Comet: Environmental protesters from Extinction Rebellion occupy the Horse Hill site at Horley. Image via TwitterEnvironmental protesters from Extinction Rebellion occupy the Horse Hill site at Horley. Image via Twitter

UK Oil and Gas released a statement seen by the Comet Tuesday (June 2) which slammed the protestors for breaching coronavirus protocol and defended the oil and gas industry and its manufacture of plastics.

The protesters "have shown total disregard for the safety and health of others by violating current Covid-19 regulations about social distancing," a spokesperson for UKOG said.

"Their behaviour has been appalling. The police must now risk their own safety in order to remove them.

"And did they ever stop to think that the medical equipment and PPE the country sorely needs at present is derived from oil and gas?

"Petroleum derived products come in all shapes and sizes but any medical facility...depend on plastics, because they are sterile, easily manufactured and durable. Would you want to live in a world without these basic but essential items?" They added.

XR strongly refuted any allegations that the endangered lives or safety regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesperson said that their activists considered the virus before taking the action and maintained physical distancing at all times during the protest.

The environmental protest group are an explicitly non-violent.

They demand the cessation of fossil fuel extraction and elimination of carbon emissions with the next few years to avert the worst impacts of the unfolding climate crisis.

Chris, one of those charged after Monday's action, told the Comet previously that he took part "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 head off the worst" of the climate crisis, he said.

On Tuesday, he responded to UKOG's assertion that essential medical supplies were reliant on the extraction of fossil fuels.

"I find it abhorrent that they are trying to suggest they do good," Chris said.

"Secondly, there are no plastics that can't be produced as bio-plastics," he pointed out, referring to plastics made from materials, like plants, other than petroleum.

"We already have all the plastics that we need and we can recycle that into other things, we don't need to be extracting more oil or gas for that.

"They say that we are hypocrites about plastics and they are right in a sense but we all live in a system that's bathed in fossil fuels. There's no alternative at the moment and we're fighting for one," he added.