The environmental campaigners Greenpeace hit out at Royal Dutch Shell yesterday after the oil giant went to court in the Netherlands to keep protesters away from its sites with the threat of huge fines.
Shell, which this week had to postpone its exploration efforts in the Arctic sea because of problems with its spill containment system, is seeking an injunction in a Dutch court to fine Greenpeace €1m (£800,000) if any members come within 500 metres of any Shell property.
Greenpeace has been campaigning against Shell's $4.5bn (£2.8bn) Arctic exploration with protests in London and Edinburgh this summer. Shell's move was prompted by blockades at petrol stations in the Netherlands last week as it claimed protests put "human lives and the environment" in danger.
Greenpeace campaigner Ben Ayliffe said Shell's action "smacks of desperation", adding: "A company that wants to drill for oil in the Arctic, in the most extreme conditions, whilst not being able to deal with an accident or clean up oil spilled in ice is in no position to accuse others of being reckless or unsafe."