Greenpeace erect oil covered Boris Johnson statue in protest outside Downing Street

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Police officers stand next to a statue stained with oil (REUTERS)
Police officers stand next to a statue stained with oil (REUTERS)

Eco-warriors have protested against Boris Johnson by unveiling an oil splattered statue of the Prime Minister outside his Downing Street home.

Greenpeace said the stunt is being used to underline a failure to end the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels, pointing to the current gas price crisis.

The group said they had shut down Downing Street over the government approved drilling at Cambo oilfield in the North Sea.

They tweeted: “We delivered @BorisJohnson the statue his legacy deserves if he approves the new oil drilling at Cambo. A statue dripping in oil.”

Greenpeace activist bolted on to oil barrels (REUTERS)
Greenpeace activist bolted on to oil barrels (REUTERS)

Oil campaigner for Greenpeace UK Philip Evans said: “Johnson’s failure to act has left us with petrol queues, energy companies going bust, offshore workers unemployed for months on end, and a deepening climate crisis.

“Johnson must stop Cambo, and instead prioritise a just transition to renewable energy to protect consumers, workers and the climate from future shocks. If he doesn’t, he will be remembered as a monumental climate failure.”

The Met Police said there were sixteen activists locked onto eight barrels as the force struggled to remove them.

They tweeted: “Those barrels will undoubtedly have complex lock-ons devices inside which the activists are attached to. Our specialist removal teams are working quickly to dismantle the devices and reopen roads.”

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

Greenpeace recently lost a legal bid to have the UK Government’s decision to allow BP to drill for oil at a field in the North Sea overturned.

The environmental campaign group took legal action at the Court of Session, Scotland’s highest civil court, calling for BP’s permit to drill the Vorlich field in 2018 to be revoked.

Following a two-day hearing last month, Lord Carloway, the Lord President, has rejected the group’s claims.

The oil field cost £230 million to develop and has now been operating for around nine months. Ceasing production would have cost around £5 million a month.

The protest comes amid a UK-wide oil price crisis, which saw widespread shortages across the nation due to a lack of lorry drivers and caused panic buying and huge travel disruption.

Also, a series of global gas supply issues has led to multiple gas suppliers going bust and significant price increases for people across the entire UK.

According to Stop Cambo, 80% of UK crude oil, which is what Cambo contains, is currently exported and sold on the global market, and production at the site would take a few years to begin, so would not ease the current crisis.

Mr Evans added: "People across the UK are feeling the stresses of a gas price crisis as well as a climate crisis, and the Government acknowledges that our reliance on fossil fuels has left the UK vulnerable and exposed. People are right to feel angry and upset.

The protest comes ahead of the Prime Minister joining other world leaders in Glasgow in November at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to discuss how to tackle climate change.

The Cambo plans have received widespread criticism. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said the Government should refuse the plans, while Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called on Mr Johnson to "reassess" the licence.

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