Police called in to tackle activists at Birmingham oil terminal

Police were dealing with environmental activists on Friday after a group blocked access to a West Midlands oil terminal.

A blockade at the Esso depot in Wood Lane, Birmingham
A blockade at the Esso depot in Wood Lane, Birmingham

Around 30 protesters from the Just Stop Oil coalition, including two on the roof of a petrol tanker, blocked the exit and entrance to the Esso fuel terminal in Wood Lane, Tyburn, Birmingham.

Members of the group called Just Stop Oil said it had blocked a number of “key oil” terminals, including the site in Tyburn, Birmingham.

Police warned of delays as ExxonMobil UK, one of the country’s largest privately-owned underground oil pipeline distribution networks, confirmed demonstrations were under way at some of its sites. It said it had shut down three of its sites.

Coalition member Francis Brewer, 29, who was at the Birmingham site, said: "We're blocking oil from leaving the site and blocking any trucks from coming in to re-fuel.

"I think we've gone so far now with the climate crisis - and had so many years of criminal inaction from our Government - that we have to start taking these drastic measures.

"People in my generation are asking ourselves questions like 'Is it OK to have a child?' because the oil industry is taking our future away.

"We are here to say 'no more' to that. We have to stop using oil and that's why we are demanding no new licences for drilling and exploration of oil in the UK."

Just Stop Oil said it blocked "10 critical oil terminals” across the UK with support from Extinction Rebellion. Activists were sitting on roads preventing tankers from leaving the sites.

“Fed up with a government burning your future – join us on the road,” the group tweeted.

It then mentioned locations including Navigator and Grays in Essex, Buncefield in Hemel Hempstead and Birmingham’s Esso terminal.

Police said they were responding to activists at a site in Tyburn, Birmingham.

West Midlands Police tweeted: “We are working to deal with this as quickly as possible.”

It added that delays were expected on Wood Lane, Bromford Lane and Tyburn Road.

West Midlands Fire Service said its crews were also in attendance at the incident on Tyburn Road.

Those travelling were asked to “avoid the area if possible”.

Just Stop Oil claimed that more than 30 young people had climbed on top of tankers at Navigator Terminals Thames, Grays, Essex.

It listed the locations as:

  • Inter Terminals UK, Grays, Essex

  • Navigator Terminals Thames, Grays, Essex

  • Buncefield Oil Depot, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire

  • Esso Birmingham Fuel Terminal, Birmingham, West Midlands

  • Esso West London Terminal near Heathrow Airport, west London

  • BP’s Hamble Oil Terminal, Southampton, Hampshire

  • ExxonMobil’s Hythe Terminal, Southampton, Hampshire

  • Esso’s Purfleet Fuels Terminal, Purfleet, Essex

  • Kingsbury Oil Terminal, Kingsbury, Warwickshire

  • BP Oil Depot, Kingsbury, Warwickshire

Protesters in Birmingham

Essex Police said they have made six arrests “so far”.

Just Stop Oil said in a statement: “The Just Stop Oil coalition is demanding an end to the Government’s genocidal policy of expanding UK oil and gas production and is calling on all those outraged at the prospect of climate collapse and suffering from the cost-of-living crisis to stand with us.

“Ordinary people can no longer afford oil and gas, it’s time to Just Stop Oil.

“It’s funding war and killing people in the global South, while destroying the future for young people everywhere.”

ExxonMobil UK wrote on Twitter: “Small protests are currently underway outside our Hythe, Birmingham and West London fuel terminals.

“While we respect the right to peaceful protest, our priority is the safety of our people, our neighbours, the protestors and our operations.

“We are working with the police to ensure that safety is maintained.”

The firm said it had temporarily suspended operations at the locations mentioned, but its other terminals at Purfleet and Avonmouth were not affected.

In recent weeks Just Stop Oil supporters have disrupted Premier League football matches by running onto the pitch and tying themselves to goalposts.

Demonstrations are expected across the country in the coming days over the cost-of-living crisis.

The People’s Assembly has said it expects thousands of protesters will take to the streets on Saturday at locations throughout the UK to highlight those suffering “real hardships” due to the combination of rising fuel and food prices, inflation, and low pay.

Extinction Rebellion announced on Friday that it will launch daily “mass participation” protests from London’s Hyde Park from April 9.

Spokesman Andrew Smith said the group will be “more disruptive than ever”.

He added: “We’re expecting huge numbers from the ninth.

“In London we won’t have pink boats, we won’t have pink tables, we will just have people power.

“In the tradition of non-violent civil disobedience, we will disrupt business as usual until the Government and big business make change. We need everyone to join us.”

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