It seems the High Court’s disappointing decision to allow drilling for oil and gas in nearby Dunsfold is completely in line with this government’s suicidal mission to increase the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels.
In the face of the overwhelming evidence that continued burning of these carbon-emitting fuels is leading to environmental catastrophe, the prime minister authorised more than 100 new North Sea drilling licences last week.
His specious argument that it would reduce prices and our dependence on dictators was quickly debunked by the mainstream media.
Commentators queued up to explain North Sea oil and gas is largely exploited by overseas companies and sold at whatever price the market determines.
Not only will there be no benefit to hard-pressed bill payers, but our reliance on Russia for our supply was massively exaggerated.
The technical experts added that overseas gas supplies generally arrive by pipeline rather than by ship, which means they are significantly less polluting than Mr Sunak implied.
So, it appears those of us who thought the post-truth era of Johnson and Truss was at an end when Sunak took the reins were sadly mistaken.
His claim to be more honest than his predecessors now seems equally suspect as it was revealed his father-in-law’s firm signed a £multi-million deal with BP just a few weeks ago. Even the most neutral bystanders would admit the current drive to increase oil and gas exploration is more than convenient.
A number of more honourable Conservative politicians called Sunak out, most notably Chris Skidmore MP who led the government’s review of net zero.
He was fiercely and courageously critical of Sunak’s plans, saying: “It is on the wrong side of a future economy that will be founded on renewable and clean industries, and not fossil fuels.”
Our soon-to-be-elsewhere MP Jeremy Hunt has taken the same position in the case of Dunsfold, which is in his constituency.
But he has vocally supported the government’s promotion of North Sea licences in an area that does not have the choice to vote for or against him.
So, the context for Waverley Borough Council’s next possible legal challenge to UK Oil and Gas, the company planning the test drilling at Dunsfold, could hardly be more inauspicious.
Yet the anomalous environmental extremes across the globe – the huge fires around the Mediterranean, Canada and the USA, and the intense flooding in China and Northern Europe – remind us just what is at stake.
Let’s hope voters will vote with their feet at the next general election for parties that protect, and not threaten, our environment.
By Dave Shurlock
Farnham Labour Party