Dame Judi Dench has given her support to an online auction to raise money for a court challenge to the expansion of oil drilling at Horse Hill in Surrey.
The multi award-winning actor, who lives in Surrey, donated a signed copy of her autobiography, Scenes of my life, for an online auction.
The fundraiser has been organised by the campaign network, the Weald Action Group, which opposes fossil fuel expansion.
All the proceeds will go towards the legal challenge to Surrey County Council’s decision to grant planning permission for oil production and more drilling at Horse Hill.
A judicial review of the permission, sought by local campaigner Sarah Finch, was dismissed in the High Court in 2020.
But an appeal court judge said the key argument over greenhouse gas emissions “has far reaching ramifications” and “is a matter of considerable public concern”.
The case will now be heard at the Appeal Court in mid-November 2021, a week after the end of the Cop26 international climate talks in Glasgow. The campaigners need to raise £13,727 for the challenge.
Friends of the Earth, which has intervened in the case on the side of Sarah Finch, has described it as one of four legal challenges that threaten the UK’s climate reputation.
The online auction opened yesterday and runs for a month. Other donated items include artwork, crafts, services, holiday accommodation and workshops. A supporter has offered to double cash donations and auction bids.
Sarah Finch 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.”
“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.”
The legal costs of the judicial review were met by crowdfunding, fundraising efforts by local campaigners and support from a range of local groups, including parish councils.