Clean energy campaigners claim to have disrupted supplies from three oil terminals in the Midlands and south-east of England, as motorists complain that some petrol stations are running short of fuel.
The government said only one terminal was out of action on Sunday afternoon as a result of the Just Stop Oil protests, and that local police forces were working with the industry to ensure that fuel supplies can be maintained.
“Currently all supply points are operational except one and this will allow deliveries to be made to those sites which have experienced shortages,” said a government spokesperson.
There was also disruption in central London as Extinction Rebellion activists stopped traffic crossing Lambeth and Vauxhall bridges.
Hundreds of climate campaigners took to Lambeth bridge, which links Westminster and Lambeth, backed by speakers playing dance music creating a festival atmosphere. Cars and buses were stopped, but at demonstrators parted to allow ambulances to pass. By 6pm Lambeth had been cleared of protesters, while traffic resumed on Vauxhall Bridge about an hour and a half later. Police said 38 arrests had been made.
Howard Cox, the founder FairFuelUK, which campaigns for low fuel prices for motorists, said he had been “bombarded with messages that garages up and down the country are short of petrol and diesel stock”.
Cox said the blockades by Just Stop Oil were to blame for the shortage, accusing campaigners of carrying out “a pointless crusade they believe will save the planet”.
But Caroline Lucas, the Green party MP, said such disruptive protests were the “only way that people feel they can make their voices heard”. Just Stop Oil said on Sunday that activists were disrupting supplies from fuel supply points in Warwickshire, Hertfordshire and Essex.
The group said supporters had dug a tunnel under a tanker route to the Kingsbury terminal in Warwickshire. “The tunnel was concealed by a modified caravan parked on the roadside and surrounded by Just Stop Oil supporters. Despite a number of police arrests, five people remain inside the caravan this morning working on the tunnel,” the group said in a statement.
At 2.30am, 40 campaigners approached the gates of the Buncefield oil terminal in Hertfordshire and locked themselves on to it, blocking the entrance, the group said. This was followed at 6.30am by a further action at Inter Terminals in Grays, Essex, where about 40 people swarmed into the facility, climbed the loading bay pipework and locked on, they claimed.
A government spokesperson said: “We are aware that protest activity at some oil terminals has led to short-term disruptions to fuel deliveries over the past few days. The local police forces are working with the industry to ensure that fuel supplies can be maintained.”
In an interview on the Sunday Morning show on BBC One, Lucas said: “I am sorry that it has come to this and that this is the only way that people feel they can make their voices heard.
“The International Energy Agency says that … the latest IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report says that, and yet this government and this energy strategy … is foreseeing getting out even more oil and gas from the North Sea. That is frankly immoral and the UN general secretary said that is frankly both morally and economically mad.”
Extracted in full from: Climate activists ‘disrupt supplies from three oil terminals in England’ | Environmental activism | The Guardian