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Just Stop Oil: Protesters block 10 oil terminals and force Exxon Mobil UK to suspend operations

Activists sit on roads preventing tankers from leaving sites

Tom Batchelor
Friday 01 April 2022 19:26 BST
Just Stop Oil protesters block oil terminal, sit on roads preventing tankers from leaving sites

Hundreds of protesters from climate group Just Stop Oil blocked 10 critical oil terminals across the UK on Friday morning, climbing on top of fuel tankers and forcing Exxon Mobil, one of the country’s largest privately owned underground oil pipeline distribution networks, to temporarily suspend operations at some of its sites.

The oil giant confirmed that “small protests” were underway at their Hythe, Birmingham and West London fuel terminals.

Three other sites in Essex – Navigator Fuel Centre, Esso in Purfleet, and Askew Farm Lane – were affected, as was Buncefield Oil Depot in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, Kingsbury Oil Terminal in Warwickshire and BP Oil Depot in Tamworth.

Essex Police said six people had been arrested and advised road users to avoid the area.

West Midlands Police tweeted: “We’re currently responding to activists at a site in Tyburn, Birmingham.

“We are working to deal with this as quickly as possible. Delays are expected this morning.”

Protesters close down Gray’s Inter Terminals by boarding fuel haulage vehicles (Getty)

Activists from Just Stop Oil, whose supporters have in recent weeks disrupted Premier League football matches by running onto the pitch and tying themselves to goalposts, sat on roads preventing tankers from leaving the sites.

The group claimed that more than 30 young people climbed on top of tankers at one site, Navigator Oil Terminal in Thurrock.

In a statement, the climate group said: “The Just Stop Oil coalition is demanding an end to the government’s genocidal policy of expanding UK oil and gas production and is calling on all those outraged at the prospect of climate collapse and suffering from the cost-of-living crisis to stand with us.

“Ordinary people can no longer afford oil and gas, it’s time to Just Stop Oil.

“It’s funding war and killing people in the global South, while destroying the future for young people everywhere.”

Extinction Rebellion said it was supporting the action, which came on the same day that energy prices for millions surged following the rising cost of wholesale gas and oil.

Just Stop Oil is a coalition of climate groups which has accused ministers of “enabling the fossil fuel industry through obscene subsidies and tax breaks for new fossil fuel extraction”.

“The choice: rapid transition to a low energy and low carbon world, or social collapse,” the group states on its website.

Cameron Ford, a carpenter, said he had locked his neck to a fuel tanker at the Buncefield Oil Depot.

In a direct message to the government, he said: “They’re just not getting it, and other than putting my body on the line in this way, if they can’t listen to science then I don’t know what else to do.”

Exxon Mobil UK said: “Small protests are currently underway outside our Hythe, Birmingham and West London fuel terminals.

“While we respect the right to peaceful protest, our priority is the safety of our people, our neighbours, the protestors and our operations.

“We are working with the police to ensure that safety is maintained. We apologise to anyone from the local community or beyond experiencing any inconvenience resulting from the actions today of this group.

“We have temporarily suspended operations from these locations. Our other terminals at Purfleet and Avonmouth are not affected. We request that the protestors allow us to resume our lawful business.”

Just Stop Oil activists during their blockade of Esso Birmngham Fuel Terminal (PA)

Last month, Everton’s Premier League clash with Newcastle was held up for six minutes when a protester tied himself to one of the goalposts.

The man, who was wearing a Just Stop Oil T-shirt, entered the Goodison Park pitch early in the second half and attached himself to a post by wrapping something around his neck.

Separate demonstrations are expected across the country in the coming days over the cost-of-living crisis.

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