Surrey grandmother’s 100 mile walk to challenge oil drilling

Photo: Weald Action Group

A 71-year-old grandmother is walking more than hundred miles in a week to raise money for a legal challenge to oil drilling in Surrey.

Pat Smith, from Dorking, is aiming to collect more than £1,500 to help fund the case against Surrey County Council.

It seeks a judicial review of the council’s decision, a year ago, to grant planning permission for 20 years of oil production at the Horse Hill site near Horley.

The case will argue that the council failed to consider the direct and indirect greenhouse gas releases of the project or the government’s net zero target for carbon emissions.

Campaigners have already raised more than £24,000 through crowdfunding but need a further £10,000 for additional legal work.

Pat Smith said:

“This case has implications beyond Surrey to the rest of the UK and Europe.

“If we’re to stand any chance of averting the horrors of climate change, we have to stand together against ‘get-rich-quick’ actions that pollute the planet. There’s no need for any new onshore oil drilling.

“As individuals we often feel we cannot do a lot. I felt the walk was something tangible that I could do that would unite people and give us a sense of purpose.”

Itinerary of Pat Smith’s walk

The walk starts on Sunday 27 September 2020 and will pass six existing or potential oil and gas sites, in West Sussex and Surrey.

It begins at Brockham, near Dorking, an oil site operated by Angus Energy. It ends on Saturday 3 October 2020 at Horse Hill, operated by a subsidiary of UK Oil & Gas plc.

The route passes a former proposed site at Leith Hill, a possible location at Dunsfold and the existing sites at Broadford Bridge and Balcombe.

All funds raised by the walk will go to the Surrey Oil Legal Challenge Fund. Details of how sponsor

  • The legal case is brought by Sarah Finch, from Redhill and supported by the Weald Action Group. In February 2020, a judge at the High Court dismissed Ms Finch’s request for a judicial review of Surrey’s decision. (DrillOrDrop report). But in July 2020, she was granted permission to take the case to the Court of Appeal.

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