Judi Dench adds her support to auction raising funds to challenge Surrey oil drilling plans

Actor Judi Dench is lending her support to an online auction which is raising funds towards a legal challenge to Surrey County Council’s decision to allow a massive expansion of oil drilling at Horse Hill, near Horley in Surrey.

Monday, 25th October 2021, 9:45 am
Updated Monday, 25th October 2021, 9:46 am

Surrey resident Ms Dench was approached by the Weald Action Group, which organised the auction, and the actor agreed to donate a signed copy of her autobiography Scenes of my Life to support the appeal.

Other donations on the online auction site, which went live on October 23 and runs for a month, include a Giclée print: 'Can't you hear the future weeping? Our love must save the world', signed by renowned Dorking-based artists Ackroyd & Harvey and poet Ben Okri; two nights’ accommodation in Lyme Regis at a stunning self-contained annexe and an organic indigo dyeing workshop with local artist Claire Benn.

Bidders can also compete for a Food for Free foraging guided walk; embroidered pet portraits; the services of a chimney sweep; a build a birdbox workshop; a handwriting tutorial; embroidered pet portraits; a range of beautiful prints and paintings; a knitted banner with slogan of the buyer’s choice; and a handcrafted bee hotel.

Horse Hill demonstration back in 2019

All these and much, much more can be found at galabid.com/horsehillappeal.

In addition a generous local donor has pledged to double any donations made towards this appeal - this applies to auction items as well as cash donations.

All proceeds will go towards a legal challenge to Surrey County Council’s decision to allow industrial level oil drilling at Horse Hill, near Horley in Surrey.

The case, brought by local campaigner Sarah Finch, was dismissed in the High Court in 2020, but an Appeal Judge said that the argument 'has far reaching ramifications' and 'is a matter of considerable public concern'.

The case will now be heard in the Appeal Court in mid-November 2021, shortly after the COP26 Climate Summit. Friends of the Earth has called it one of four cases that threaten the UK’s climate reputation.

Campaigner Sarah Finch, who is fronting the legal action, said: “We hope that the amazing items up for auction will give people the chance to buy something fun or useful, while contributing to the fight for climate justice and a fossil fuel free future.

“Thank you to everyone who has given items to the auction, and to everyone who buys them. This legal case is so important – our planning system is out of step with the climate emergency and we need to stop new fossil fuels developments being permitted in the Weald and across the UK.”