“We will not be silenced!” Just Stop Oil supporter walks free with suspended sentence after M25 gantry action

A Just Stop Oil supporter who climbed a motorway gantry earlier this year in response to the news that UK temperatures rose above 40C for the first time ever, received a suspended sentence at the High Court in London today.  [1]

Louise Lancaster, 56, a former teacher and mother of three from Cambridge appeared at the Royal Courts of Justice charged with contempt of court for breaching the M25 injunction on 20th July. Along with 4 others, Louise caused significant disruption on the M25 in three places by climbing on a gantry above the motorway, forcing the police to close sections of the motorway.[2]

The action was prompted by the news that all time temperature records had been obliterated in the UK on July 18th with a historic 40C being recorded.  [3]

Louise was sentenced to 42 days suspended for 2 years and ordered to pay an eye watering £22,000 in court costs.

Louise said:

“The world is burning, it’s got to be obvious now to the people of this country, you have been lied to, fobbed off by the government and media fuelled by the oil barons and their greed. We have a serious, serious emergency; action needs to be taken. The government must not grant 100 new oil and gas licences – that’s a death sentence. The government must take swift action to stand by its climate pledges and protect the future for our young people. The government, through injunctions, is weaponising the law to silence us. We will not be silenced!  ”

In other news Louis McKechnie, 21 from Weymouth, who invaded the Formula One racetrack at Silverstone on 3rd July was refused bail yesterday and has been ordered to remain in prison until his trial some time in 2023. He has been in prison without trial for 90 days alongside Joshua Smith.  A six week sentence for invading the pitch and tying himself to the goalpost during a Premier League match between Everton and Newcastle on 17th March, has been served during this time. Just Stop Oil supporters plan a demonstration outside HMP Altcourse at 4pm today. [4]

Barry Mitchell, 74, a pensioner from Telford,  was released from HMP Birmingham today after serving a two week sentance for breaching the Kingsbury Injunction. He was one of 51 Just Stop Oil supporters jailed after taking action on 14th September by peacefully sitting in the road outside the Kingsbury Oil Terminal in Warwickshire.[5]

Earlier this week 6 Insulate Britain supporters – Di Bligh, Steve Gower, Reverend Sue Parfitt, Dr Diana Warner, Benjamin Buse and Oliver Rock  -were acquitted at Horsham Magistrate’s Court after a Judge ruled that stopping traffic on the M25 last year was proportionate. Between them the Insulate Britain supporters were found not guilty of 18 charges of wilful obstruction of the highway relating to actions taken in September last year. [6][7]

A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said:

“We are in resistance against a criminal government and their genocidal death project. Our supporters will be taking action every day until our demand is met: no new oil and gas in the UK.

“We will not be intimidated by changes to the law, we will not be stopped by private injunctions or astronomical fines and court costs that seek to silence ordinary people in nonviolent civil resistance. Our supporters understand that these are irrelevant when set against mass starvation, slaughter, the loss of our rights, freedoms and communities.

“Stand with our supporters in prison, with the 1700 murdered across the global, for protecting our futures. We will not die silently, it will be ordinary people, like you, your friends, colleagues and neighbours who do what our government cannot. It will take all of us. “


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Notes to Editors

[1] 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. More information here: https://juststopoil.org/ 

[2] https://juststopoil.org/2022/07/20/just-stop-oil-blocks-m25-motorway-in-three-places-by-climbing-on-overhead-signs/

[3] https://juststopoil.org/2022/07/20/just-stop-oil-declares-m25-a-site-of-civil-resistance-after-uk-temperatures-pass-40c/

[4] https://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/22997670.climate-change-protester-louis-mckechnie-given-six-week-prison-sentence-tying-goalpost/

[5] https://juststopoil.org/2022/09/28/two-just-stop-oil-supporters-jailed-for-nonviolent-resistance-at-kingsbury/

[6] https://twitter.com/InsulateLove/status/1578293103978770433?s=20&t=NXYwMas9nHmwuocbKpDfYw

[7] There are now 5 Just Stop Oil supporters in prison on remand or serving sentences for taking action to demand that the government halts new oil and gas licences and consents. They are Simon Milner-Edwards, Margaret Reid, Michelle Charlesworth, Joshua Smith and Louis McKechnie. In addition, Scott Breen is in prison for taking action against the Southampton to Heathrow pipeline and Elliott Cuciurean is in prison for taking action against HS2.