Just Stop Oil stages ‘go slow’ march in Sheffield.

Supporters of Just Stop Oil staged a ‘go slow’ march in Sheffield today, bringing traffic to a crawling pace across the city centre. It follows the widely publicised adoption of the new tactic in marches across London in December. [2]

They are demanding that the government stops all new UK fossil fuel projects. [1]

The Sheffield action was carried out in defiance of the Prime Minister’s recent threat to crack down on the ‘go slow’ marches. Further such actions are planned across the north in the coming months. [3]

David Nixon, a Just Stop Oil supporter from Barnsley who attended the march, said:

 “The government is intent on crushing anyone who opposes its broken regime. Whether it’s union members demanding fair pay and working conditions, or ordinary people demanding a liveable future for their children, the government is silencing dissent by introducing ever more draconian laws to criminalise us. We all need to stand up against this monstrous attack on our democracy and on our very survival before it’s too late. Join us!”

The government plans to issue up to 100 new oil and gas licenses – a move which is facing a legal challenge by campaign groups. The government is also facing a legal challenge over its approval of the UK’s first new coal mine for over 30 years, at Whitehaven in Cumbria. [4]

Climate scientists have warned that the granting of new fossil fuel licenses is incompatible with staying within 1.5C of global warming – a temperature increase widely understood to be disastrous for nature and humanity. [5]

Another Just Stop Oil supporter at the march said:

 “The world’s climate scientists couldn’t be clearer – new fossil fuel projects are incompatible with continued life on earth. The world is on the brink of multiple disastrous climate tipping points which, if crossed, will spell the beginning of the end of human civilisation as we know it. By continuing on this deadly path our government is condemning millions across the Global South to a life of famine, war and destitution, and it won’t be long before we’re facing the same here in the UK.”

UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, warned world leaders at the international climate summit, COP27, in December, that: “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator. Our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible. We need urgent climate action.” [7]

The Sheffield action follows a campaign of disruptive action by Just Stop Oil in the final months of 2022, with daily roadblocks in the centre of London during October, the repeated closure of the M25 in November, when Just Stop Oil supporters climbed the overhead gantries, as well as a series of slow-marches in the capital during December. Since the campaign began on April 1st, there have been over 2,000 arrests of Just Stop Oil supporters, with 130 having been imprisoned.

During this campaign of disruption, polling showed a huge surge in support for nonviolent direct action of the sort carried out by Just Stop Oil, with 66% saying they support taking nonviolent direct action to protect the climate with just 34% opposed. [8]

Just Stop Oil is hosting a talk for members of the public entitled “Our Responsibilities at This Time” on Tuesday 24th January, 7pm, at the Sheffield Quaker Meeting House.


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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] Just Stop Oil stages go slow marches in London: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/london-police-officers-south-london-harrods-suella-braverman-b2239759.html

[3] Rishi Sunak plans to crack down on ‘go slow’ marches: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/jan/09/rishi-sunak-plans-crack-down-go-slow-protests-just-stop-oil

[4] Government faces legal challenges over its plans to award 130 new UK oil and gas licenses and its approval of a new coal mine: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/12/uk-ministers-face-legal-challenge-over-north-sea-oil-and-gas-licences

[5] New fossil fuels incompatible with 1.5C warming: https://www.carbonbrief.org/new-fossil-fuels-incompatible-with-1-5c-goal-comprehensive-analysis-finds/.

[6] World on brink of five disastrous climate tipping points: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/08/world-on-brink-five-climate-tipping-points-study-finds

[7] UN Secretary General says we’re on a highway to climate hell: https://twitter.com/antonioguterres/status/1589574435719483392?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

[8] A UK poll showing huge support for nonviolent direct action: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/24/huge-uk-public-support-for-direct-action-to-protect-environment-poll?CMP=share_btn_wa

[4] Just Stop Oil talk in Sheffield: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/our-responsibilities-at-this-time-sheffield-tickets-506423324797?aff=ebdsoporgprofile