Just Stop Oil supporters disrupt traffic calling for U-turn on coal decision

Just Stop Oil supporters have stopped traffic on key routes in Central London today to demand that the government halts all new oil and gas licences and consents and reverses yesterday’s decision on a new coal mine. [1]

At 9:15am, around 15 Just Stop Oil supporters wearing hi-vis vests walked onto Whitechapel Road, East London and proceeded to march slowly east and then west causing delays to rush hour traffic.  The march continued on Commercial Road.

A further action is planned later this morning.

Sophie Holland, 51, a mum of three and NHS speech therapist  from Bristol said:

“My concern for the future of everything has reached the point it seems reasonable, responsible even, to be in the streets demanding change. Why is our government not listening to Sir David King, Sir David Attenborough, the many 1000’s of scientists and the UN Secretary General who can’t make it any clearer: either we change, or we perish. Still the government plans for more oil, gas and now coal. They are killing us, our natural world,  our children’s futures.   

“I work with people with severe asthma and long Covid, who struggle to breathe. Air pollution will get worse, as will fires, floods, hunger. It is beyond contention. A liveable future is possible, but only if we stop new oil and gas. I’m terrified. I want my children to die of old age. What I can’t understand is why isn’t everyone on the streets, shouting for change?

Teresa Garlake, 59, a former teacher and mother of 2 young adults from Oxford said:

“As a teacher I worked to help children believe in themselves and their power to be good citizens. What future do they have now? Our government knows full well that allowing the extraction of new oil and gas resources in the UK will destroy everything we hold dear. Yet it continues to subsidise the fossil fuel industries with billions of pounds every year. 

“I don’t want to be here causing disruption, but the fact is that the real disruption is being caused by a government that continues to support a fossil fuel industry that is bringing about an unliveable future. Morally, who are the criminals?    We are here to do all we can to bring about a future for all children. We can’t have that unless we stop all new oil and gas” 

The action follows yesterday’s announcement by the government that it has given the greenlight to the UK’s first new coalmine in 30 years at Whitehaven in Cumbria.[2]

A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said:

“The government has just ripped up any pretence of global climate leadership and signed the death warrant for millions of people and for what? Coal that no British company wants or needs, whose credentials rest on dangerous lies about jobs and carbon capture and storage. 

“Their toxic plans will lead to social collapse and the destruction of everything we hold dear. This cannot stand. We need everyone out on the streets now to take back what is rightfully ours: the chance of a liveable future.” 

This week sees the continuation of court hearings for the Just Stop Oil supporters arrested as part of the four days of action on the M25 during November. A total of 6 supporters including 1 currently on remand are due to appear at Guidford and Maidstone Crown Courts today [3]

Six weeks of continuous disruption and civil resistance by supporters of Just Stop Oil during October and November resulted in over 700 arrests. Since the campaign began on April 1st, Just Stop Oil supporters have been arrested over 2,000 times, with 24 supporters currently in prison. [4]

Just Stop Oil continues to peacefully resist the government’s plans to licence over 100 new oil and gas projects by 2025, and its failure to fulfil its promise to help people with their skyrocketing energy bills. By continuing to encourage new oil and gas they are complicit in the death of millions and are facilitating the collapse of the ordered society that allows democracy to function. 

Solidarity Event: Join us this Saturday (10th December), in Parliament Square from 12pm as we march and rally in solidarity with our 25 supporters in prison, with the 2,000 victims of our broken criminal justice system imprisoned for over a year without trial and with the 1,700 murdered across the global south, for protecting all our lives. We are not prepared to just watch while they destroy everything we love. 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. [5][6]


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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. Just Stop Oil is a member of the A22 Network of civil resistance projects. Climate Emergency Fund is Just Stop Oil’s primary funder for recruitment, training, and capacity building.

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/07/uk-first-new-coalmine-for-30-years-gets-go-ahead-in-cumbria

[3] A total of 6 supporters including 1 currently on remand are due to appear at Guidford and Maidstone Crown Courts today:

10am Guildford: Isabel Rock, Niculina Tirpoca, Rachel Payne, Jesse Prince, 

12pm Maidstone: Gaie Delap, Paul Sousek

[4] There are now 24 Just Stop Oil supporters in prison on remand or serving sentances for taking action to demand that the government halts new oil and gas licences.  They include Abigail Percy Ratcliffe, Adelheid Russenberger, Alexander Wilcox, Callum Goode, Catherine Rennie-Nash, Daniel Shaw, Ian Bates, Isobel Rock, Jan Goodey, Roger Hallam, Karen Matthews, Lucia Whittaker, Mair Bain, Molly Berry, Nick Onley, Paul Bell, Paul Bleach, Phoebe Plummer, Tim Hewes, Joshua Smith, Louis McKechnie, Morgan Trowland and Marcus Decker. Elliott Cuciurean is also in prison for taking action against HS2.

[5]  Fair Trials reports that the number of people being held in prison without trial in England and Wales is at its highest for over 50 years. 

[6] A recent report from Global Witness says that more than 1,700 people have died while trying to prevent mining, oil drilling or logging on their lands.