We are asking the Gruffalo to join us in reminding his marketing partners at the Forestry Commission that they need to honour their corporate mission statement to protect our woodlands; to desist in selling them off to the fossil fuel industry; and to show better leadership in helping our country deliver on its critically important climate change targets.
Leith Hill is one of southern England's best loved Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A decade ago the Forestry Commission decided to lease Bury Hill Wood on Leith Hill to Europa Oil and Gas to be drilled for oil. In 2011, Surrey County Council refused permission for a planning application to commence exploratory drilling. The decision was appealed, and a subsequent public inquiry in July 2012 upheld the refusal. That decision was then challenged by Europa in the High Court, which found favour with Europa. A community group counter-challenged at the Court of Appeal, resulting in a second public inquiry. This unfortunately coincided with a change in the planning regulations, and as a result the government planning inspectorate decided to grant permission providing that Europa could fulfill 23 planning conditions. They are now in the process of attempting to discharge those conditions.
For the last nine years, the local community has raised over £100K, mounted multiple legal challenges and campaigned tirelessly to protect their beloved hill from this proposal. In 2016, local councillors Malcomson and Wellan who represent the Holmwoods ward on Mole Valley District Council unsuccessfully appealed to the Environment Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, to scrap Europa's lease agreement. Then last summer, a local mother and baby group had the idea of doing some Gruffalo-themed family protest events, as the Forestry Commission had been promoting Gruffalo-branded activities at other locations including Alice Holt forest. Inspired by this, a local musician decided to finish off a woodland musical instrument project for his children, and one evening used "the tree guitar" to write Gruffalo Blues. A number of recording sessions were then held in the area, including drop-in events for anyone wishing to come along and sing. Out of these sessions, the Leith Hill Community Blues Band was born.
High quality .mp3 or .wav files of Gruffalo Blues can be supplied upon request.