Climate campaigner given 72 hours to leave tunnel protest over aviation fuel pipeline

A climate campaigner, who has opposed onshore oil and gas projects, has been given three days to leave a tunnel he dug near a new aviation fuel pipeline.

Protest site and tunnel over Southampton to London Pipeline Project (SLPP). Photo: Fast Action Response Team

Scott Breen, also known as Digger, was named in an interim High Court injunction, issued on Tuesday (16 August 2022) over protests against Esso’s 105km pipeline from Southampton to London.

The injunction order said he should “remove his person and possessions within 72 hours of service of this order from any and every excavation” he had made in the area of the pipeline.

Notices about the injunction, also issued against persons unknown, were posted this morning.

Scott Breen had previously been named in an injunction aimed at preventing trespass and obstruction at UKOG’s oil production site near Gatwick airport.

Protest site and tunnel over Southampton to London Pipeline Project (SLPP). Photo: Fast Action Response Team

His current protest, now in its 19th day, has disrupted work on the pipeline, which will take fuel from Boorley Green in Hampshire to storage at the West London Terminal in Hounslow.

The tunnel was dug on land, near the M25 at Chertsey in Surrey, used by contractors for access to the pipeline work.

|Mr Breen has been asked to leave but has refused.

He said Esso’s owner, ExxonMobil, “continued to plan for growth in climate-destroying fossil fuel use” as the UK experienced record-breaking temperatures. He said:

“Our world is on fire and ExxonMobil is pouring fuel onto the flames.”

The new pipeline will replace an original pipe from 1972. Mr Breen said:

“The current pipeline still has at least twenty years of useful life left, time which could be used to scale back air travel and develop zero carbon alternatives.”

Security and contractors at the SLPP site near Chertsey. Photo: Fast Action Response Team
Supporters for Scott Breen’s protest. Photo: Fast Action Response Team
Chertsey protest site. Photo: Fast Action Response Team

Esso said the new pipeline would help to keep 100 tankers a day off the road. It was a safe, low-impact method of transporting fuel, the company said.

Essos’s court submissions said the injunction had been sought to prevent people from “conspiring to injure” its business “by unlawful means”.

It said activities by some protesters went “far beyond lawful and peaceful protest and give rise to serious health and safety concerns”.

It described Scott Breen, who was not represented at the injunction hearing, as “a known tunneller”.

The judge at the injunction hearing, Mr Justice Eyre, noted that the protest was against a background of “strongly held beliefs and concerns about the effect of air travel” and said he considered the “legitimate public interest in the changes to the climate”.

He said he was “just about persuaded” to order an injunction against Scott Breen.

He concluded that an injunction was “proportionate and necessary” to ensure that Esso was “permitted to carry on its lawful activities”.

Extinction Rebellion South East has said the new pipeline would increase fuel supply to Heathrow airport 40%.

“The multi-million dollar investment in the new pipe will bake in the increased burning of fossil fuels for many decades beyond the timeframe required to take action to prevent climate breakdown.”

It added:

“Flying is the fastest way we can burn fossil fuels and produce greenhouse gas emissions. It is unjust that a tiny number of very rich people, just 1%, are emitting half of commercial aviation’s carbon emissions, whilst the poorest suffer and die because of climate breakdown.”

The High Court will reconsider the injunction at another hearing on 7 September 2022.

29 replies »

  1. July 30th exchange Drill or Drop

“Here comes the question again, rephrased to preempt intentional evasion. Do you accept that scientists and mathematicians have between them proved that global over-heating is anthropogenic? Do you accept that fossil fuels have played by far the largest part in this process? I’m guessing, only guessing of course, that your answer is ‘No’.”
    Martin’s answer:
“ Yes, my answer is no. The numbers of people now on the planet have played the largest part. And, the life expectancy that has facilitated that is in a large part due to the use of fossil fuels. So, maybe the life expectancy achieved is the largest part? Fossil fuels are not a problem-if they are decarbonized.”

  2. Yes, and previously, 1720, and you thanked me for my answer. And became agitated on another occasion, when reminded that rice production just happens to produce a lot of methane showing that climate change, and man’s influence upon it, is not a one trick pony.

    (I also note some concern about risk of major volcanic activity reported recently. Perhaps for those who want to be concerned about everything, that is one to add to the climate change file? Or, conversely, check out the reports about solar activity and whether that will produce a cooling, as predicted.)

    And, yet, over the weekend you thought it might make you look clever to deny the reality. Sorry, I have a different idea about what is clever. But, I did have the benefit of advice at a young age that if one attempts to be a smart a***e, one will usually only achieve half of what one attempts.

    Someone is trying to play you folks and they are not being very clever in doing so. Excuse me for paying attention and noting that.

    If and when fossil fuels are decarbonized, what is the problem, 1720? Who is investing the resource to move forward on that, 1720? (No requirement to try and deflect with “greenwashing”, who is actually doing it? I have already provided quite a few snippets of information on that. If you are so inclined there is a lot more that can easily be accessed. Maybe 1721, or 1722 could do the work for you? You have used the something must be done card before, but I suspect, like HS2, this will again be something that is an opportunity to protest about rather than embrace, and also embrace protest against flying that HS2 would reduce!)

    Until then, USA reports it will be producing record levels of oil next year and gas output will cement it as the world’s largest producer, with domestic prices forecast to drop by Q4. There, that little piece of reality should give an opportunity for more denial. Deny away, and attract the label of reality deniers. The reality will remain.

  3. My 5.07 post on the 21st. Stet.
    It’s quite clear who is playing whom, who are the gullible, who are the deniers.
    At this point I withdraw – for the usual reason, viz a reluctance to hang around in my interlocutor’s alternative reality.

  4. So, once again you couldn’t answer the question, so withdraw!

    Good one, 1720, if the trend was now not so obvious. It really is okay to not understand that some things may be a little complex, but to avoid the complexities does not turn you into Gandhi.

    However, praise for avoiding the simple “greenwashing” smokescreen. A first step away from Group Think?

  5. Is he still there?

    “The injunction order said he should “remove his person and possessions within 72 hours of service of this order from any and every excavation” he had made in the area of the pipeline.”

    No update?

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