Climate campaigners blockaded an entrance to the UK’s largest oil refinery, at Fawley in Hampshire today.
The action, by Extinction Rebellion, lasted about six hours, and was in opposition to expansion plans at the ExxonMobil complex.
The protesters also demanded an immediate end to all government fossil fuel investments.
Activists dressed as grim reapers mounted steel tripods at the entrance of the Hythe terminal.
A campaigner impersonating an ExxonMobil executive pumped fake blood from an oil barrel. Others enacted a die-in.
There were no arrests.
Fawley refines oil produced in southern England, including Wytch Farm in Dorset, Horndean in Hampshire and Horse Hill in Surrey.
In 2019, plans were approved for an £800mil diesel plant at the refinery. ExxonMobil is also laying a new, larger bore pipeline to supply Heathrow and other airports with fuel.
One campaigner, James Knapp, 55, a photographer from Dorking, described a report, issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on 9 August 2021, as a “Code Red for planet earth”. He said:
“As UN Secretary General António Guterres said: ‘The evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions are choking our planet and placing billions of people in danger’.
“ExxonMobil’s expansion of production at Fawley is another nail in our coffin. We call on the Government to act now to stop all new investment in fossil fuels.”
Jon Kennedy, 42, a mechanical design engineer from Brighton, said:
“The impacts of just 1.1 degrees increased heat are all around us – from the droughts that bring massive forest fires to the increased evaporation that’s resulting in fatal flooding.
“These impacts are coming faster than predicted, yet worse is to come and soon it could be beyond human control to set limits on heating as more climate feedback loops are triggered.”
Venetia Carter, 57, a tutor from Brighton, said:
“Our governments have been complicit in their failure to transition to renewables. They blame ‘demand’ for fossil fuels, as if this isn’t a result of their own energy and transport policies.”
The refinery operator issued a statement:
“ExxonMobil respects the right of people to protest peacefully and to express their opinions. Our primary concern is for the safety of our staff and property, our neighbours and the protestors themselves.
“We are working closely with the police to monitor the situation and minimise the inconvenience to our staff and our neighbouring communities.”
In June 2021, XR activists blockaded an entrance to the Hamble oil terminal, near Southampton.
Ruth Hayhurst will be reporting for DrillOrDrop from the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November