Climate activists leave the tunnel to demand an end to new oil and gas projects


Climate activists have ended their occupation of a tunnel dug under an Essex road after 13 days.

Several Just Stop Oil activists have been in the tunnel under St Clements Way in Grays – a key delivery route for the nearby oil terminal – since August 23, protesting what they see as government inaction over the climate crisis.

The tunnellers, who voluntarily left the tunnel around 3.45pm on Sunday, are calling on the government to halt new oil and gas projects in the UK.

Essex Police say three men are in custody after being arrested on suspicion of causing a public nuisance and criminal damage.

I can’t sit idly by while our government allows profiteering energy companies to drive us into poverty, destroy our jobs and wreak havoc on the climate

Xavier Gonzalez Clipper

The force said the tunnel is now empty and a cordon will be in place overnight.

Work to fill the remaining tunnel will begin shortly, police said.

Sam Johnson, 39, a ground worker from Suffolk, who was in the tunnel, said: ‘In July we experienced 40C heat for the first time in UK history and our emergency services could not cope.

“Just look at Pakistan – a third of the country has been submerged by catastrophic floods and 33 million people have been displaced.

“This is the reality of climate collapse and it’s happening here in the UK, it’s happening all over the world and it’s happening now. That’s why we need to act now.

Xavier Gonzalez Trimmer, 21, who works in the climbing industry, was also in the tunnel and said: ‘I cannot sit idly by while our government allows profiteering energy companies to plunge us into the poverty, destroy our jobs and wreak havoc on the climate. .

“I won’t stop until the government agrees to end new oil and gas.”

Joe Howlett, 32, a musician and teacher from Bath, who was also in the tunnel, said: “We demand that the UK government stop all new fossil fuel licenses and permits in the UK.

“Join us in Westminster on October 1. Just stop the oil.

Just Stop Oil said that from October 1 in Westminster it will stage what it says will be “the biggest act of civil disobedience in UK history”.

Chief Superintendent Simon Anslow said: “I am happy that this situation is now over.

“Over the past fortnight we have made over 60 arrests and worked hard with our partners to keep disruption to our community and local businesses to a minimum and keep Essex moving.

“This work required an enormous amount of resources and diverted officers from other tasks such as preventing and investigating burglaries, robberies, sexual and violent crimes.

“We are not anti-protest but we will take action where the law is broken or the safety of people is at risk.

“I would like to thank everyone who has helped resolve this situation and the companies and organizations involved for their patience and understanding.”


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