Eco activists “slow walk” four tankers to protest future fossil fuel production
Campaigners converge on UKOG Horse Hill site to call for end to drilling
Extinction Rebellion and other eco activists slowly walked in front of four tankers this morning (3 August) en route to UKOG’s Horse Hill production site.
The slow walk saw around 20 Covid-19 masked activists gather near the junction of Horse Hill and Reigate Road and proceed at a snail’s pace in front of the tanker to protest the continued expansion of fossil fuel development in the midst of the climate emergency.
This is the second time in two months that protesters have used slow walking to highlight continued oil extraction at the Horse Hill site, which is located two miles from Horley town centre and close to Gatwick airport. Stewards were on hand to minimise delays to other drivers.
The protest comes just weeks after a local campaigner won permission for a judicial review of Surrey County Council’s decision in September last year to grant planning permission to produce oil at the site for 20 years – a move that could add an estimated 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
I feel I have to take action now. The climate is breaking down as we speak. Unless we urgently reduce our dependence on fossil fuels there is going to be global human suffering on a scale we have never seen before. New exploitation of oil, like this, taking place on our doorstep at Horse Hill, is sealing us into a terrifying future. The UK government and Surrey County Council have failed to act to prevent new oil development, despite acknowledging the emergency. This protest is not fun. It is scary, but I feel I have a moral duty to do what I can for the sake of my children and future generations. This is a small peaceful protest and we are taking what measures we can to keep everyone around us safe by maintaining social distancing as far as possible and wearing face masks.
Kate James, 45, a protester from Brighton
We are at a point in time where we are on a precipice of climate break-down and the human race must take the right steps to prevent this. This can only be avoided if we invest in renewable energy which is becoming cheaper and easier to harness. The fact that the government is not doing all it can to prevent mass extinction, and continues to invest in the use of fossil fuels, is criminal. For this reason I have come to protest by slow walking the oil industry lorries entering the site.
Brian Sandersen, aged 37, a Sussex-based scientist
We can no longer put our heads in the sand and ignore what is happening.The Climate Change Committee, which advises the government, has warned that we need to plan for a 4 degree Celsius rise in temperature by the end of the century. We are currently just over one degree and we are experiencing floods and wild fires. A 4 degree rise will be catastrophic. We have a chance after Covid-19 to change path and the urgency of the pandemic shows what is possible if there is a will. Climate change is here for the foreseeable future. How we act now will decide what future we leave our children, future generations and al the other amazing species that share this incredible planet Earth with us.
Jack Bowden, environmentalist from Redhill
Campaigners have set up a crowdfunding appeal to cover the cost of the Judicial Review.
Donations can be made at https://chuffed.org/project/support-surrey-oil-legal-challenge
Live streaming at the site on https://www.facebook.com/XRSouthEastUK
Due to a civil injunction at the site protestors names are aliases. The civil injunction prohibits certain protests at UKOG sites. Its scope is currently being challenged in the courts.
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