Activists block entrance to UK Government hub in Edinburgh

·2-min read
Twelve people entered Queen Elizabeth House at the capital’s Sibbald Walk on Monday morning (Jessica Kleczka/PA)
Twelve people entered Queen Elizabeth House at the capital’s Sibbald Walk on Monday morning (Jessica Kleczka/PA)

A group of climate change activists have blocked the entrance to a new UK Government hub in Edinburgh to protest against the Cambo oil field’s approval.

Twelve people entered Queen Elizabeth House at the capital’s Sibbald Walk at 7.30am on Monday and are blocking the main entrance by sitting and lying down.

The Stop Cambo Scotland group wants Prime Minister Boris Johnson to halt the “expected approval” of the North Sea oil field just months before Glasgow hosts the United Nations Cop26 climate conference.

(Jessica Kleczka/PA)
(Jessica Kleczka/PA)

Mikaela Loach, a fourth year medical student and climate activist, said: “Floods are ripping through Germany. Madagascans are starving and thirsty in a fierce drought.

“North Americans are dying in unprecedented deadly heatwaves and wildfires rage. And the Amazon is emitting more CO2 than it absorbs.

“In all this chaos, the UK Government, host of the Cop26 UN Climate Negotiations, is happy to sign away 800 million barrels of oil, just so a few shareholders can turn a profit.

“This is criminal. The Cambo oil field must be stopped.”

The move also comes ahead of a rally at 4pm on Monday which was originally due to take place outside the Scottish Parliament building – but has now been moved to continue the action at Queen Elizabeth House.

The group says the oil field, off the coast of Shetland, is 30% owned by Shell and 70% by private equity firm Siccar Point Energy.

Queen Elizabeth House, the new UK Government Hub in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)
Queen Elizabeth House, the new UK Government Hub in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)

In May this year, the International Energy Agency said investments in new oil and gas projects and polluting coal power plants must be halted to help tackle the climate crisis.

Neil Rothnie, a former oil worker and founding member of Offshore Industry Liaison Committee, said: “I don’t believe that we can just keep on exploring for, and producing, all the planet’s oil and gas.

“My understanding of the science is that if we do that, climate change will destroy the planet as we know it, and much of the life it supports.

“I have young grandchildren. That destruction could be well advanced in their grandchildren’s lifetime.

“That scares the shit out of me.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Police are currently in attendance on Sibbald Walk, Edinburgh and are engaging with a group of peaceful protesters gathered within the UK Government building.”

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “Following an incident this morning at Queen Elizabeth House in Edinburgh we are working with the police to ensure everyone’s safety.

“Currently the vast majority of UK Government civil servants continue to work from home, as they have done throughout the pandemic. This means our services are unaffected by today’s activity.”

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