Exeter slow march rallies local opposition to new oil and gas licences

Just Stop Oil supporters slow-marched in Exeter city centre today, as they asked the public to join them in civil resistance to end new oil, gas and coal. 

Around 30 supporters marched for an hour, from Sidwell Street to Northernhay Gardens, talking to passers-by and handing out flyers to invite more of the public to join Just Stop Oil. 

Within 15 minutes, Devon and Cornwall Police ordered the marchers off the road, by issuing a section 12, Public Order Act notice. These powers are intended to prevent ‘serious disruption to the life of the community’, although the roads were quiet and buses could easily pass the slow march. Police then directed supporters onto the pavements and the march continued through the crowded Princesshay shopping centre.  

Gilly Robinson, 59,  a retired environmental educator from Dawlish who was on the march today said:

“I was evacuated from my home in Dawlish twice during the storms of February 2014,The sea wall was breached and the railway line in front of my house left dangling. Climate change? Can’t prove it. But highly likely. People tell me to get my voice heard in a ‘more democratic’ way. All the while, the ice shelves melt, the seas continue to rise, wildfires creep ever closer – and nobody in power is doing a thing about it. Honestly?  I’m terrified. And this is why I slow-march.”

Instead of acting to prevent climate change, UK prime minister Rishi Sunak plans to ‘max out’ the UK’s oil and gas reserves, including approving 100 new oil and gas licences. Just Stop Oil is asking people who are concerned to join us in fighting his criminal intentions and to support our demand  that the government halts all new licences and consents for oil, gas and coal projects in the UK. [1] 

Just Stop Oil is hosting a talk at the Exeter Phoenix at 6:30pm on Monday evening August 21st about how everyone can help make these demands. We invite all those who are concerned about these developments to attend, and sign up at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/welcome-talk-how-to-just-stop-oil-exeter-tickets-699128822127

Maurice Spurway, a 69-year-old grandad from Exeter who joined the slow march today said:

“We are on the brink of climate collapse, and the government still refuses to listen to the science. It’s ignoring its own advisors in maxing out on fossil fuels. Cheaper, safer and faster alternatives exist, and it seems that only civil disobedience will force the government to see sense. I don’t like disrupting people’s lives, but I don’t know what else I can effectively do.”

Exeter is the home of the Met Office, which clearly explains that burning fossil fuels causes the CO2 emissions that are boiling our planet. [2] Extreme temperatures are driving more frequent adverse events, for example with July 2022’s UK heatwaves killing more people and widely damaging property. [3] During that period, there were over 3,000 excess deaths according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics. [4] 

Pumping up and burning yet more fossil fuels, wilfully causing more deaths and damage is criminal. The International Energy Agency, the United Nations and a majority of the UK public all want the government to cease granting licences for new oil and gas projects immediately.  [5][6][7]. Politicians, charities and ordinary people have spoken out against Sunak’s plans — but one group is leading the resistance: Just Stop Oil. 

Mathew, 36, from Exeter said:

“Studying environmental science, I learned that the ecological and climate crisis we are facing is not a scientific or technical problem, but a political one.We have had the solutions for decades, but politicians have instead maintained the wealth and power of fossil fuel corporations and the billionaire-owned media. We now urgently need radical systemic change to have a hope of a sustainable future.”

We will not let the status quo stand. We refuse to die quietly. Civil resistance is no longer an option, it is a necessity. Starting in late October, thousands of people will join Just Stop Oil in London to march on the roads, and we will not stop until we win. Sign up for action here: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/take-action-with-just-stop-oil/


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High quality images & video here: 

For this march: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1YjWIw4vqM45OOuWF3o79ssbcvXhX9PgZ?usp=sharing 

From nationwide actions: https://juststopoil.org/press-media

Website: https://juststopoil.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JustStopOil/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/just.stopoil/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JustStop_Oil

Youtube: https://juststopoil.org/youtube

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.

Just Stop Oil ‘Blue Lights’ policy: our policy is, and has always been, to move out of the way for emergency vehicles with siren sounding and ‘blue lights’ on.

[2] Causes of climate change. The evidence is clear: the main cause of climate change is burning fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal.  https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/climate-change/causes-of-climate-change

[3] Unprecedented extreme heatwave, July 2022. This heatwave marked a milestone in UK climate history, with 40°C being recorded for the first time in the UK. https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/binaries/content/assets/metofficegovuk/pdf/weather/learn-about/uk-past-events/interesting/2022/2022_03_july_heatwave_v1.pdf 

[4] During the five heat-periods between June and August 2022, 56,303 deaths occurred in England and Wales and were registered by 7 September; this is 3,271 deaths (6.2%) above the five-year average. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/excessmortalityduringheatperiods/englandandwales1juneto31august2022 

[5] No new oil, gas or coal development if world is to reach net zero by 2050, says world energy body: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/18/no-new-investment-in-fossil-fuels-demands-top-energy-economist

[6] In 2022, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called new fossil fuel expansion “moral and economic madness” and said that “the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels”. https://press.un.org/en/2022/sgsm21228.doc.htm

[7]  Recent public opinion polls

60% of the UK public list either wind, solar or nuclear as the form of energy generation   they support  the most versus only 6% who favour oil or gas. https://yougov.co.uk/topics/science/trackers/which-form-energy-generation-has-the-most-support

40% of the UK public support an outright ban on new oil and gas versus 32% who oppose. https://yougov.co.uk/topics/consumer/survey-results/daily/2023/05/30/adad6/1