Just Stop Oil activists block roads into major depot near the M25 in Essex


Up to 50 environmental activists from Just Stop Oil caused chaos outside two oil facilities in England this morning as they held sit-down protests, climbed on top of tankers and dug tunnels.

Some 30 protesters were involved in Grays, Essex – with at least ten sitting on a road next to the M25 which is a key tanker route to and from the Navigator terminal, while another group occupied the Grays oil terminal.

Further north in Warwickshire, around 20 activists blocked or tried to block the two main access roads to the Kingsbury oil terminal. Two of them climbed on top of a tanker after traffic was halted by roadblocks.

In addition, five people were occupying two tunnels that have been dug under St Clements Way and London Road in Grays, while four people are occupying a further two tunnels dug near the Kingsbury terminal.

Ten protesters also sat on St Clements Way, which runs alongside the M25 next to the Dartford Crossing to Kent. At least 12 Essex Police officers arrived just minutes later and immediately started hauling them away.

Retired vicars Mark Coleman, of Rochdale, and Sue Parfitt, of Bristol, who have been regulars at environmental protests across England in recent years, were among those involved in the Grays demonstrations.

One driver of a Smart car could be seen getting out of his vehicle to talk to the protesters – who also put their bicycles across the road – before mounting the pavement to get past them at the start of the morning rush-hour.

The demonstration comes six weeks ahead of the start of Just Stop Oil’s plans to blockade Parliament for weeks in a war over proposals to expand production of North Sea oil, with those protests set to start on October 1.

Police officers speak to Just Stop Oil protesters as they stage a demonstration on St Clements Way at Grays in Essex today

Police officers speak to Just Stop Oil protesters as they stage a demonstration on St Clements Way at Grays in Essex today

Three police officers carry away a Just Stop Oil protester staging a demonstration on St Clements Way in Grays this morning

Three police officers carry away a Just Stop Oil protester staging a demonstration on St Clements Way in Grays this morning

Just Stop Oil protesters are removed by police during a demonstration next to the M25 at Grays in Essex this morning

Just Stop Oil protesters are removed by police during a demonstration next to the M25 at Grays in Essex this morning

Just Stop Oil protesters stage a demonstration on St Clements Way next to the M25 at Grays in Essex this morning

Just Stop Oil protesters stage a demonstration on St Clements Way next to the M25 at Grays in Essex this morning

Retired vicar Sue Parfitt (left) is among the Just Stop Oil protesters staging a demonstration at Grays in Essex this morning

Retired vicar Sue Parfitt (left) is among the Just Stop Oil protesters staging a demonstration at Grays in Essex this morning

A motorist mounts the pavement to get past the Just Stop Oil protesters staging a demonstration at Grays in Essex today

A motorist mounts the pavement to get past the Just Stop Oil protesters staging a demonstration at Grays in Essex today

Catherine Rennie-Nash, 72, a retired teacher from Kendal, Cumbria, who was among those protesting in Essex, said: ‘I am beyond angry about the government’s plans to allow more oil and gas projects in the UK.

‘I have no choice but to be in civil resistance. We need to understand that the government isn’t protecting us. ‘The cost of living crisis is a choice, sky-high fuel bills is a choice, new oil and gas is a choice. Government is allowing companies to steal our wealth and destroy our future, they are criminals.;

Sam Holland, 20, a student from Leeds who is also taking action in Grays today, said: ‘Consenting to more fossil fuels is consenting to the collapse of our food systems.

‘It is consenting to the collapse of our societies, and to the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. Make no mistake – those in power who have planned this will be tried for crimes against humanity.’

And Jeannie Donald-McKim, 58, a teacher from Witney in Oxfordshire, who is joining the action near Kingsbury today, said: ‘Our addiction to oil is fuelling climate collapse and causing the worst cost of living crisis in 40 years.

‘People are getting desperate. We have run out of time for words. Now is the time for action. I urge everybody to step up and join us. This is the moment to come together and resist. We can do this.’

Just Stop Oil protesters stage a demonstration on St Clements Way next to the M25 at Grays in Essex this morning

Just Stop Oil protesters stage a demonstration on St Clements Way next to the M25 at Grays in Essex this morning

Retired vicar Mark Coleman is also among the Just Stop Oil protesters staging a demonstration at Grays in Essex this morning

Retired vicar Mark Coleman is also among the Just Stop Oil protesters staging a demonstration at Grays in Essex this morning

Just Stop Oil protesters stage a demonstration on St Clements Way next to the M25 at Grays in Essex this morning

Just Stop Oil protesters stage a demonstration on St Clements Way next to the M25 at Grays in Essex this morning

Just Stop Oil protesters stage a demonstration on St Clements Way next to the M25 at Grays in Essex this morning

Just Stop Oil protesters stage a demonstration on St Clements Way next to the M25 at Grays in Essex this morning

A motorist mounts the pavement to get past the Just Stop Oil protesters staging a demonstration at Grays in Essex today

A motorist mounts the pavement to get past the Just Stop Oil protesters staging a demonstration at Grays in Essex today 

Meanwhile Anna Holland, 20, a student at Newcastle University who is also involved in the Kingsbury protest, said: ‘If you’re still debating whether to get involved in action against the government and the oil industry, ask yourself: do I want the rest of my life to look like this?

‘Do I want this year – with the cost of living crisis, climate breakdown, deadly weather – to be the best year of the 2020s? Because that’s the reality we face if we don’t take action and make change now.’

An Essex Police spokesman said: ‘Officers have acted quickly and arrested 20 people following reports of disruption at three locations in Thurrock this morning.

‘We received reports from just after 6am onwards relating to people causing disruption in St Clements Way, Chafford Hundred railway station, and an industrial site at Askew Farm Lane.

‘So far 18 people have been arrested – 10 at the site in St Clements Way and eight at Chafford Hundred Railway Station.

‘At the site in Askew Farm Lane, we are responding to reports of people at height and this may require specialist equipment to bring them down safely. Two people have been arrested.’

Inspector Stuart Austin added: ‘We are working to resolve these situations as quickly and safely for all those involved. We have plans in place to deal with incidents like these and have acted swiftly to deal with them and make 18 arrests so far.

‘We are focused on keeping the county moving and keeping you safe. Road disruption is currently minimal and I’d like to thank local drivers, workers, and business for their patience.

‘I want to be clear: policing is not anti-protest but we must intervene where there is a risk to life or where laws are being broken.’

Just Stop Oil claims its protests from October will be more extensive than previous Extinction Rebellion disruption and could result in Britain’s biggest ever campaign of civil disobedience.

The demonstrations are designed to challenge plans by the Government to allow energy giants, such as BP and Shell, to step up exploration and production of oil and gas in the North Sea.

Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups trying to force the Government to end all new licences for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels. It has already held major protests on motorways and at refineries.

Its tactics are similar to those of Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain, whose members have caused chaos by gluing themselves to roads and vehicles.

It comes as energy bosses this week called for the £1,700 increase in annual bills to be scrapped – amid warnings that inflation will hit a staggering 18 per cent.

Industry leaders also called for bailouts as they claimed that if the price of beer had risen at the same rate as wholesale gas, a pint would cost £25.

Soaring inflation is being driven by the fact that household energy costs are set to rise from £15billion in a normal year to £75billion, said Octopus Energy.

And bosses have now claimed that the scale of the crisis is so enormous that it requires the sort of emergency response that was seen during the pandemic with a massive bailout for struggling families.



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