Police endangering public safety by refusing to close road over occupied Just Stop Oil tunnel

Essex police are endangering public safety by refusing to close a road that runs over one of the tunnels occupied by Just Stop Oil supporters, who are demanding that the UK government end new oil and gas projects in the UK. [1]

After consulting the Highways Agency yesterday, the police decided to partially reopen the road above a tunnel on St. Clement’s Way in Thurrock, Essex near the Navigator oil terminal, the largest in Britain. This means that large oil tankers and other HGVs are passing over the occupied tunnel, risking its collapse, threatening the life of the people below and endangering anyone using these roads.

By contrast Warwickshire Police have closed the road above another Just Stop Oil tunnel on Piccadilly Way near the Kingsbury Oil Terminal. We understand that discussions about reopening the road are ongoing.

Just Stop Oil revealed four tunnels yesterday, two each in Essex and Warwickshire. Three remain occupied and are now stretching under the roads. The tunnel locations were chosen to totally cut off the tanker routes from Navigator and Kingsbury, the two largest oil terminals in the UK. The disruption to their operations means that there will likely be shortages of petrol and diesel in the South East over the bank holiday weekend.

Dr. Larch Maxey, 50, a scientist who is occupying one of the Essex tunnels said:

“The police are obliged to undertake a proper risk assessment to consider public safety and it is clear that no such risk assessment has taken place. The Highways Agency have apparently  advised the Police that it is safe to open the road, but they haven’t done a proper investigation. I fear that not only our safety but that of the travelling public is at risk.

“The police are following the government’s line and prioritising the flow of oil above the lives of every single person on earth. They should know that we will not give up easily. We will not stop until the government agrees to end new oil and gas projects in the UK. ”

Sam, 39 from Suffolk, currently occupying one of the tunnels in Essex said:

“I don’t feel safe and I fear that the Police are dismissing my concerns for public safety. We have an ongoing situation where trucks weighing over 40 tonnes are driving directly over an occupied tunnel at a rate of over one truck per minute, this is directly putting lives at risk. I’m not going to be pressured into leaving the tunnel. I am here for the long haul.

“We face very dire consequences if we don’t stop new oil and gas drilling. We’ve already seen 40C heat in the UK for the first time in recorded history and that put immense pressure on the emergency services. It’s clear that they are under-resourced and now they are cutting corners. 

“This is on the government. They could end this disruption today and start to address the cost of living and the climate crisis by stopping new oil and gas.”

We are not prepared to just watch while the government and fossil fuel industry destroy everything we love. We’re done with begging. Voting changes nothing. We are going to stop new oil whether those in power agree or not. As citizens, as humans, as parents and children we have every right under British law to protect ourselves and those we love. This is the moment, we are the last generation that can solve this. Will you step up and join us? If we all come together we can do this. We can Just Stop Oil. Join us on October 1st in Westminster.


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Notes to Editors

[1] Roads

  • St Clement’s Way, Grays, RM20 3AR
  • Stoneness Road, Grays, RM20 3AG
  • Piccadilly Way, Kingsbury, Tamworth, B78 2HA

Terminal locations:

  • Navigator Terminals Thames, Oliver Road, West Thurrock, Grays, Essex,RM20 3ED
  • Inter Terminals UK Ltd, London Rd, Grays RM17 6YU
  • Kingsbury Oil Terminal, Tamworth, B78 2HA

About Just Stop Oil

Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups working together to demand that the government immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK.

We must urgently end our reliance on fossil fuels to avoid irreversible changes in the earth’s climate system. We cannot continue to burn fossil fuels in the belief that future developments in carbon capture and storage and other so-called “unicorn technologies” will allow us to suck vast quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

The UK must begin this process immediately. It starts by calling a halt to any further fossil fuel projects on the UK Continental Shelf. That would give us eight years of fossil fuel production left in which to rapidly transition to a zero carbon economy.

Everyone knows we have to engage in massive changes. Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups demanding the no-brainer things be done immediately – actions that will reduce the demand for fossil fuel energy dramatically such as insulating our homes, rethinking how we travel, getting on with renewable energy and making sure no-one is left behind. 

We either come together as humanity or we die. Youth know which they choose. They have already chosen. They are in the streets to demand a future. We are all in the streets to make sure they get it. It’s as basic as that.

Further information about Just Stop Oil and our demands here: https://www.juststopoil.org