Two fathers in their 50s have occupied the rig at the Horse Hill oil site in Surrey this morning in protest at fossil extraction.
The men, both members of the climate group, Extinction Rebellion, reached a platform on the rig, 15m above the ground. They have hung banners saying Stop the Harm and No more oil. They are refusing to come down.
Extinction Rebellion said the men entered the site, near Gatwick Airport, at 3.45am and used an access ladder to climb the rig to a platform.
Police reportedly arrived at 10am.
This is the second protest at the site this week. On Monday (5 October 2020) members of the group deliberately delayed tankers on the way to the site in a “slow walking” protest.
The rig at Horse Hill, delivered 10 days ago, is being used as part of a workover to improve oil flows. The site operator, Horse Hill Developments was granted planning permission in September 2019 to extract oil for 20 years.
In a statement this morning, one of the activists, management consultant Lindsay Parking, 50, described operations at Horse Hill as “an act of colossal, short sighted stupidity”.
“I am here as a father to prove to myself and my children that we all have the power to challenges that which is wrong in the world.
“It simply requires clarity of thought and courage in action. Knowing that the world is burning and my children and all children will suffer, I cannot sit idly by.
“This small act will not reverse the carnage by itself, but it may add to the growing conviction among ordinary people that self-interest, avarice and destruction are not our natural condition.
“As a parent, at some point you come to the realisation that you must raise your children to be able to best navigate the world as they find it. You cannot protect them forever or create their environment as you would like it to be for them, just by wishing. We are all obliged to act to create the world we wish to see. This is about growing up.”
DrillOrDrop has invited a response to the protest from UK Oil & Gas plc, the owner of the site operator. A civil injunction prevents specified protests at Horse Hill.
Surrey Police said in a statement:
“We were made aware that two people had entered the drilling site at Horse Hill, Horley, earlier today (10 October).
“The site is on private property and as such, the responsibility for removing the two people sits with the owners of the site.
“We will deal with any offences which are disclosed to us once the people have been removed.”
The two men came down from the rig at about 5pm.