Online auction raises funds for Horse Hill Appeal

An online auction goes live this weekend to raise the final funds needed for the Horse Hill legal challenge.

Lots on offer include two nights’ accommodation in a stunning self-contained annexe in Lyme Regis, prints by Tate Modern artists Ackroyd and Harvey, an organic indigo dyeing workshop with local artist Claire Benn, and a signed copy of Judi Dench’s autobiography.

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; embroidered pet portraits; a range of beautiful prints, paintings and textile hangings; a knitted banner with a slogan of the buyer’s choice; and a handcrafted bee hotel.

All these and much, much more can be found at

A generous local donor has pledged to double any donations made towards this appeal.

The legal challenge

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, with support from the Weald Action Group, 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”. Friends of the Earth has called it one of four cases that threaten the UK’s climate reputation in the run-up to the COP26 Climate Summit.

The case will now be heard in the Appeal Court in mid-November 2021, shortly after the COP26 Climate Summit.

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. The Appeal will cost a further £13,727, most of which has already been pledged, and the auction will make up the final amount.

Sarah Finch, who is fronting the legal action, said: “Thank you to everyone who has given items to the auction, and to everyone who buys them. This legal case is so important – the Horse Hill oil could produce more than 10 million tonnes of greenhouse gases when it is burned. I believe Surrey County Council should have considered this when it decided on the drilling plans but it didn’t, which is what I’m challenging in court.”

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