A model lightship being pushed from Brighton to London to raise awareness of climate change passed the Horse Hill oil site in Surrey today.
The boat, named qGreta after the activist Greta Thunberg, is due to arrive in London at the weekend as part of two weeks of climate protests by Extinction Rebellion.
Extinction Rebellion said the route included Horse Hill to highlight what it said was the threat posed by oil extraction to the local environment and the climate.
Nearly a year ago, Surrey County Council granted planning permission for long-term oil production at Horse Hill. The decision is being challenged at the Court of Appeal.
Before passing Horse Hill, the boat travelled on the perimeter road of Gatwick Airport.
Crew member and XR activist Nix, 26, from Newhaven, said:
“I am here because there is a climate emergency and we have to do something now. This has been a tough journey but also inspiring because it symbolises how if we all work together and put our differences to one side we can achieve amazing things.”
Jack Capon, 30, from Horsham, a member of a samba band accompanying the boat, said:
“It has been a fantastic journey so far. It feels a bit like a pilgrimage – and we have had a great response from the public.”
Extinction Rebellion is urging MPs and the government to support the Climate and Environmental Emergency Bill. This was introduced in parliament today and seeks to strengthen the Climate Change Act.
The Bill’s supporters said it would require the UK to:
- Make a comprehensive strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Take account of the country’s entire carbon footprint, in the UK and overseas
- Protect nature and recognise the damage done through goods consumed
- Establish a National Citizens’ Assembly to give ordinary people a real say in changes to prevent climate and biodiversity breakdown.
Extinction Rebellion supporters gathered in Westminster as MPs returned to the UK parliament. There were also rallies in Manchester and Cardiff. Some media reports said there were 200 arrests.