Priti Patel is urged to crack down on hipster eco-activists

Priti Patel is urged to crack down on hipster eco-activists with calls to stop oil depot ‘guerrilla tactics’ that are causing misery for motorists

  • Labour called on Home Secretary to seek nationwide injunctions to stop ‘guerrilla tactics’ being used to shut down oil terminals
  • Measures would mirror those used last year to ban Insulate Britain fanatics from blocking roads
  • Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion activists have targeted 11 fuel depots in as many days
  • Their protests have blocked trucks from making petrol and diesel deliveries 

Priti Patel was under mounting pressure last night to take action against eco-activists disrupting fuel supplies.

Labour called on the Home Secretary to seek nationwide injunctions to stop ‘guerrilla tactics’ being used to shut down oil terminals.

The measures would mirror those used last year to ban Insulate Britain fanatics from blocking roads, allowing police to make arrests more easily.

Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion activists – many of them young, middle-class students – have targeted 11 fuel depots in as many days, blocking trucks from making petrol and diesel deliveries to forecourts.

Activists from the Just Stop Oil group, (left to right) Louis McKechnie, Miranda Whelehan, Nathan McGovern, Claudia Penna Rojas and Cressida Gethin, during their press conference in central London, as they continue to stage protests at oil depots

Pictured: Louis McKechnie and Nathan McGovern at oil depot. They said in a video that they have been disrupting operations at Grays oil depot in Essex after chaining themselves to pipes high up at the site on Sunday afternoon

It has caused fuel shortages at service stations, mainly in the Midlands and South East, with some even running dry.

Three terminals were targeted over the weekend and trucks were yesterday still unable to access the Exolum storage facility in Grays, Essex, after protesters glued themselves to pipes above loading bays.

The mayhem comes ahead of a record 21.5million motorists preparing to take to the roads this coming Easter weekend. Steve Reed, Labour’s justice spokesman, said: ‘The Conservatives need to stop standing idly by and put an end to this disruption that is causing misery for motorists.’

Pictured: Just Stop Oil of their activists during one of their blockades at Kingsbury early on Friday April 1

Three terminals were targeted over the weekend and trucks were yesterday still unable to access the Exolum storage facility in Grays, Essex, after protesters glued themselves to pipes above loading bays. Pictured: Protesters march from Hyde Park to the Science Museum on April 11 

The Insulate Britain injunctions, applied for at the High Court by roads agency National Highways, effectively banned protests on major roads.

It meant activists could be arrested for contempt of court for breaking the injunctions.

Labour said ministers should work with local authorities covering the country’s 60-odd oil terminals to bring in similar measures. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman yesterday insisted the Government will not tolerate continued disruption.

Activists from Extinction Rebellion demonstrate in central London on April 11 (pictured)

The mayhem comes ahead of a record 21.5million motorists preparing to take to the roads this coming Easter weekend. Pictured: Activists from Extinction Rebellion demonstrate in central London on April 11 

He said: ‘We recognise the strength of feeling and that the right to protest is a cornerstone of our democracy, but we won’t tolerate guerrilla tactics that obstruct people going about their day-to-day business.’

Essex Police made nine more arrests yesterday, following 26 on Sunday.

Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Nolan blasted the ‘totally unacceptable’ activists who have trespassed into areas holding flammable chemicals.

She said: ‘Their risky behaviour cannot be allowed to take place in such critical locations which could be catastrophic if there were accidental or deliberate actions causing leakage or fire.’ Just Stop Oil is an off-shoot of Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion and contains many of the same members.

Essex Police made nine more arrests yesterday, following 26 on Sunday. Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Nolan blasted the ‘totally unacceptable’ activists who have trespassed into areas holding flammable chemicals. Pictured: Activists from Extinction Rebellion demonstrate at The Albert memorial in Kensington Gardens, central London on April 11 

Pictured: A closed petrol station in Kent on April 11. Many petrol stations are facing some fuel shortages caused by climate protesters blocking the major fuel depots 

Four young agitators have been among those leading protests in recent days. Among them is 22-year-old Nathan McGovern, a serial activist who studied for a masters in religion at King’s College London.

After a flirtation with Extinction Rebellion, he is now a committed member of the Just Stop Oil group – and last night was among around 12 students locked in among pipework at the Grays terminal in Essex.

In a video he and fellow activist Louis McKechnie boasted how they have been chained to pipes for more than 30 hours while drivers face fuel shortages. 

Activists from Just Stop Oil take part in a blockade at the Kingsbury Oil Terminal, Warwickshire on April 3 

Climate activists from the Extinction Rebellion (XR) group, dressed-up as rats demonstrate in front of the science musuem in London on April 11 (pictured)

McGovern last week glued himself to the microphone at LBC’s Westminster studio while speaking to host Tom Swarbrick and also made an unsuccessful attempt to disrupt a Premier League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

‘John Lennon lookalike’ McKechnie, a Bournemouth University graduate seen ‘surfing’ on an oil truck in Essex on Friday, tied himself to a goalpost during a game at Everton’s Goodison Park last month.

Also among their group are Cressida Gethin, the privately-educated daughter of an orchestral agent and a former cellist for the London Symphony Orchestra. The 20-year-old chorister is studying music at Cambridge University.

Pictured: Just Stop Oil protesters at the Kingsbury oil terminal early on the morning of April 7

Activists from Extinction Rebellion blocking Lambeth Bridge in central London on April 10 (pictured)

Other members include Miranda Whelehan, 21, a pharmaceuticals expert’s daughter who grew up in a £1million, five-bedroom house in Weybridge, Surrey. Figures compiled by the Business Department show that average fuel stock levels at forecourts in England dropped by 5.4 per cent to 36 per cent in the week the Just Stop Oil protests began on March 28.

The West Midlands and East of England were the worst affected regions, with average stocks finishing the week ending April 3 on 25 per cent.

A spokesman for the UK Petroleum Industry Association, whose members include Shell, BP and ExxonMobil, said disruptions are ‘localised and short-term only’.

A government spokesman said: ‘We are working closely with industry to ensure that supplies are maintained.’

A spokesman for the UK Petroleum Industry Association, whose members include Shell, BP and ExxonMobil, said disruptions are ‘localised and short-term only’. Pictured: Extinction Rebellion returned at the Esso West oil facility near Heathrow Airport in London on April 4

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