Esso seeks court action over pipeline activist

Esso has applied to the High Court to commit a climate activist for breaching its injunction over protests against a new aviation fuel pipeline.

Scott Breen protest against the Southampton-London Pipeline. Image used with the owner’s permission

Scott Breen, also known as Digger, has occupied land in Surrey for more than 30 days.

He has been protesting since 1 August 2022 against the £150m Southampton-London Pipeline (SLP) Project.

Mrs Justice Heather Williams will hear Esso’s application tomorrow afternoon at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

48-year-old Mr Breen could be sent to prison for up to six months for contempt of court.

He was named, along with persons unknown, in an injunction order issued to Esso on 16 August.

Work on the pipeline was disrupted when Mr Breen dug a tunnel on land, near the M25 at Chertsey, used by contractors.

He left the tunnel on Monday 22 August, complying with a court order. But he them moved into a pallet tower above ground.

Esso’s new pipeline will take fuel from Boorley Green in Hampshire to storage at the West London Terminal in Hounslow. It is designed to replace the original, smaller, pipe from 1972.

Mr Breen said the existing pipeline had at least twenty years of useful life left. He said the new pipe would increase aircraft capacity at Heathrow:

“as the disastrous effects of just 1.2º of warming cause record breaking heatwaves and drought in Europe, and Pakistan is ravaged with devastating floods, ExxonMobil [Esso’s parent company] and Heathrow Airport together plan massive increases in climate destroying greenhouse gas emissions.

“I am only one man but I feel morally compelled to raise awareness of the criminal, immoral, nature of this scheme, where the largest Airport in the country and one of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies are putting corporate profits before planet and people and planning to lock us in to decades of increasing emissions when we are already dining in the last chance saloon.”

20 replies »

  1. So it’s plain to see we do not need no more fossil fuel infrastructure expansion no new runway stop the harm save future generations says:

    The science is clear fossil fuels are killing us and the future of all life is in the balance.
    The United Nations intergovernmental panel on climate change IPCC declared it’s a code red for humanity.
    Cop 26 we remain on track for a catastrophic temperature rise well above 2°C.
    simple no new investment or expansion in fossil fuel infrastructure.
    The new Southampton to London Heathrow pipeline SLP will carry 40% more aviation fuel than Exxon mobile existing pipeline.
    London to Heathrow Airport I am to increase passenger numbers by 38% by 2030 10 million in 2018 to 110 million in 2030.
    So it’s plain to see we do not need no more fossil fuel infrastructure expansion no new runway stop the harm save future generations

    • MR/MRS (Him/ Her), So it’s plain to see we do not need no more fossil fuel infrastructure expansion no new runway stop the harm save future generations.
      If you want to contain yourself to just the UK, then by all means go ahead. That is not the way of the world to live in caves in this developed world! We could also remove the fossil fuel derived Surgical implements, but that would adversely effect the NEXT GENERATION!! Fact…

    • [Edited by moderator] the younger current generation are flying back from their holidays ready for the start of the new school year. Where, they will be required to cover up with multiple layers, much produced from fossil fuel. Reduction in exploration for fossil fuel has created a hike in prices, so schools will be cutting back on heating-unless there is money nicked off the fossil fuel companies to be diverted to paying for more heating.

      So, it is plain to see that there will be much wailing and many chilblains this winter, whilst some continue to campaign against HS2 which might just reduce the need for airport expansion. And some seem to have done both!

      Incoherent, ironic, and hypocrisy.

    • “London to Heathrow Airport I am to increase passenger numbers by 38% by 2030 10 million in 2018 to 110 million in 2030.”

      It is pretty obvious if you increase passenger numbers you increase the fuel demand therefore you need more fuel therefore you need a bigger pipeline? Unless of course engines become 38% more efficient.

      Passenger numbers up 38%; fuel capacity up 40%. It’s called planning ahead…….

      Another runway will also be good news.

      So its plain to see we need additional capacity. Thank you Esso.

      • Even if it contributes to an uninhabitable planet for humans? No planes, businesses nor so called ‘civilisation’ at all then? Seems very self destructive. When is it enough? When is it sustainable? It appears not to be sustainable to a habitable planet. I’m not just referring to the UK, I’m talking about the whole globalised system. What needs to change to make it more sustainable and more equitable, it surely needs some global cooperation/ agreement on policy to reduce the harm?

  2. Hmm.

    Well, the expansion of Heathrow has happened, and may continue. Fuel delivery to it will happen. Only question is whether it goes by pipeline or vehicles. I know which I prefer.

    Reference Pakistan-I can also see how the aid to help them is getting there.

    • Maybe Pakistan wouldn’t need the plane aid if excessive burning of fossil fuels hadn’t driven globalised environmental destruction aka climate change? Just saying…

  3. 48 years old and spending his holiday entitlement on protesting a pipeline project, or he’s picking up his dole money as the same time. Quite ironic that its the same treasury who facilitates both, money in, money out… Its not activism, its smells of desperate anarchy. The majority are going to suffer in europe this cold winter, in either heat or eat!

    I wonder if digger will be protesting in the height of a December / January winter, without the use of hydrocarbon membranes to stay warm, you literally couldn’t make it up!! DOH!

      • Me, 1720?

        Much more so. I was using ‘planes to travel to parts of the world to help them feed themselves and their children. I found none on my travels who wished to go back to what their ancestors had briefly endured. And, do you know what was the first priority for the younger generation after their survival, their supply of protein and their income had been improved?

        They wanted to travel the world!

        Pop along to London, and check it out. They are doing so.

          • Yes, Jack.

            (But I have formulated pigeon feed, so had the knowledge of pigeons nutritional requirements to enable me to do so. Sorry, Jack, but no worms were involved. Indeed, no animal protein at all. Not even included for the Queen’s pigeons.)

            Try using experience to identify what is real. You could do a lot worse, or rather, a lot better.

            I am still awaiting your experience of trying EVs. I have let you know my own experience several times, and when you wanted to diminish that, asked for your own experience. Guess what, Jack. Absolute zilch, no experience just opinion. Not exactly salesman of the century stuff.

            I also think you might find others who have travelled around the world and taken the time to discuss with different generations what their aspirations are, have already stated similar experience on this site. But, quite easy to verify. If you are allowed to, try a visit to London and see for yourself. For myself, if I was travelling for work which was the norm, the first requirement was to identify the aspirations of potential clients. Without that Jack, you are not even at the starting point. Sorry.

            By the way, I would add for clarity, I no longer have a passport. No big environmental gesture, just the ancient bones making flying pretty uncomfortable and I have no reason to impose upon them. I do accept my 20 month grandson wants to fly to Spain though to see his Granny, even if Mr. Breen doesn’t.

  4. Three blind mice.

    Can’t (or won’t) see that ever increasing fossil fuel emissions will destroy life on this planet as we know it.

  5. Shame the horse is dead, as without tractors, replaced by quite a few billion horses, then life on this planet will be long gone before they even need to take off their cardigans. Mind you, with the billions of horses, then they would have consumed the food that other life would have required .

    Drove by a cricket field today. It used to service a single farm before WW1 when everything was by horse power. Farm workers travelled off to war, few returned. Traction engines were developed during WW1 and took over from the horses, and numbers of farm workers then dropped dramatically. Cricket field then abandoned, until taken over by a private club.

    Interesting though Dorkinian you are supported by someone who was previously commenting about their campaign against HS2! These blind mice get everywhere. But, being blind, they have a habit of going round in circles.
    Meanwhile in France, they invested in TGV and now have a nice clean alternative to internal flights. Having travelled on TGV and internal flights in France, apart from any environmental consideration, then the better option is pretty obvious-except to the blind mouse. But, experience sees the obvious that blind exuberance misses.

    • [Edited by moderator]This rhetoric is dangerous, instilling to stop of fossil fuels… in endearing cholera and famine to plough through our country. The minority voice is a dangerous one!

      • On the contrary, Eli-Goth, it is, historically, the majority voice that has often proved the dangerous one. The twentieth century abounds in examples of a contrived and manufactured majority wreaking havoc upon the world. This continues in this century and right up to the present: we do not need to lift our heads high from the sand! During this period, and of course earlier, the voice of reason and moderation has often been provided by the minority voice, not always successfully, of course, but loud enough to provide hope for humanity.

        • The minority voice has often shouted because it is not accepted by the majority. Usually, the majority has been correct to reject the shouting, not always, but usually. Being in a minority may be because education is pretty widespread.

          Going back many years, I recall there was always a minority voice around. Some were given extra help and then were no longer the lone voices, some wished to ignore that help, and ended up remaining a minority. Most of them claimed they would be proved right in the future. Very few were. Reunions featured questions about what happened to him/her. Sainthood was not evident.

          Ask the good people of Newbury, and district, what the minority voice did for them. A bit of amusement at the time, some concern at the time how reality could be distorted. Now? What a lot of nonsense that was, and how much better the environment is due to the by-pass.

  6. Oh, I have no belief that I will change some opinions, E-G. However, the more I engage with them, the more I discover that the argument is just incoherent, and usually, factually incorrect. When that becomes evident then there is an automatic response to claim greater intelligence or support of some mythical clan, without much evidence of either.

    Interesting really. The genuine nimby, and they have some level of credibility, seem to have long gone and have been replaced by those who just want to protest but can not argue what the workable alternative is. The reason? Because they just want to protest and it seems too much trouble to research the subject so they might persuade anyone else who is not already in the clan.

    I do recall these were the same people whooping with glee in 2020 whilst oil prices were dropping through the floor and heralded-according to them-the end of the need and stranded assets. And, here just two years later it can be seen what an “intelligent” reaction that was. No apology, just more of the same but now with the added insult that they want the fossil fuel companies to pay the bill for their stupidity. And, yes, it is stupidity when a huge investment of Net Zero has been agreed to, yet there is no recognized budget. “Not doing so would cost more.” Maybe, maybe not. How can you tell if the cost cannot be the starting point? Something to hide? Goodness, there isn’t even a plan to replace income from Fuel Duty! And a sudden additional £160B for increased nuclear, and £54B for more pylons to march across the UK. And, all the rest yet to emerge. All from the tax payer. “UK leading will get others to follow”. Since when? Probably Queen Victoria’s time, and that required a huge military to get the followers to follow.

    That is the biggest danger to Net Zero. Always was, and now becoming evident. Fossil fuel should not get the blame, the incoherence of committing taxpayers to umpteen $trillions without providing full clarity is to blame.

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