Just Stop Oil truck surfers put safety first by blocking key oil route in Essex

A handful of ordinary people have blocked an oil tanker on a key route to and from Britain’s largest oil terminal in Essex in support of Just Stop Oil’s demand that the UK government end new oil and gas projects in the UK. 

Up to 10 people stopped an oil tanker, while one climbed on top to “tanker surf” and others deflated the tyres. The action was designed to block St. Clements Way, Grays, a key delivery route from the Navigator oil terminal, as it runs over a tunnel occupied by Just Stop Oil supporters.

Since Tuesday when the tunnel was revealed, the tunnellers have been extending the tunnel further under the carriageway and digging upwards towards the road surface. Taking advantage of a break in the traffic today, the tunnellers have made good on their promise to break through the tarmac from below.

The plan was hatched after a Highways Agency safety expert visited the site on Tuesday and declared the road safe to open to traffic. Video footage shows the man suggesting that unless the tunnellers could provide him with “a piece of tarmac from the road above” the road would be reopened. [1]

Sam, 39, a groundworker from Suffolk, currently on his 6th day occupying the tunnel said:

“We have asked every day for the road to be shut, but the Police have continued to dismiss our concerns for public safety. We have an ongoing situation where trucks weighing over 40 tonnes are driving directly over an occupied tunnel putting our lives and those of the drivers at risk. 

“It was my choice to occupy this tunnel and I will accept the consequences because I can’t standby and let the government continue with its plans to fast track up to 46 new oil and gas projects. This will do nothing for our skyrocketing energy bills and will put millions of people unknowingly or unwillingly at risk of serious harm from climate collapse. 

“No-one has consented to having their lives destroyed by drought, wildfires and floods, by crop failure and disease and by the violence that will follow the breakdown of ordered society. If you are mad as hell about the climate and cost of living crisis, join us on October 1st in Westminster. We can do this. We can Just Stop Oil”

Earlier today, police arrested Dr. Larch Maxey, one of three people who had been occupying another tunnel under Stoneness Road in the Grays area. Police have kept Stoneness Road closed since Tuesday out of concern for public safety.  

Christopher Bennett, a health care assistant from Bristol, who remains in the tunnel, said:

“Those in power are letting energy companies rake in record profits while people are going hungry and losing their jobs because of the energy price crisis. At the same time the government plans to allow new fossil fuel projects which will only fuel climate breakdown and do nothing for our energy bills. 

“Not a single person in this government is behaving like the utter emergency we are in is real – and yet it is only weeks since we had 40 degrees Celsius – the highest temperature ever recorded and most of the UK and Europe is still facing unprecedented drought and crop failures. Just imagine what the next year will be like, never mind the next decade!

“Millions of people in the global south are suffering right now – from people starving in drought conditions in the horn of Africa to those who have lost everything in extreme flooding in Pakistan. These people have contributed very little to this escalating emergency. And it is young people in the UK who have also been totally betrayed by this government. 

“Join thousands of like-minded people who want social justice on the 1st October in Westminster – together we are going to make the Government end all new fossil fuels. Now is the time to resist the destruction of everything we love.”

Just Stop Oil continues to resist the government’s plans to greenlight 46 new oil and gas projects by 2025 and its failure to address skyrocketing energy bills, as Ofgem this week announced a massive increase in electricity bills for October which will push millions more into poverty, forced to choose between heating and eating.[2]

This is the moment to come together and resist. We are not prepared to just watch while they destroy everything we love. We’re done with begging. Voting has changed 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.


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Notes to Editors

[1] St Clements Way Tunnel | Part 1 | Grays Essex, UK | August 2022 | Just Stop Oil

[2] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-62674301

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