Extinction Rebellion have blocked the gates of a large oil refinery in Scotland with boats in a protest against pollution.
Climate activists claim Ineos is the country’s biggest polluter and is staging the blockade at Grangemouth as part of a programme of action.
Small groups of no more than six people have locked themselves together at the gates and aim to remain there all day.
Two boats are being used to block the entrances to the refinery and the headquarters.
Extinction Rebellion claims Ineos is the country’s biggest polluter and is staging the blockade at Grangemouth as part of a programme of action
Small groups of no more than six people have locked themselves together at the gates and aim to remain there all day
Above, police at the scene today. A spokesman for Ineos said: ‘We note that early in the morning (around 7:30am), Extinction Rebellion blocked the entrances to Ineos office on Inchyra Road in Grangemouth. The group demands a transition away from fossil fuels’
More police arrive as an XR protester sits on top of a boat this afternoon. The demo is being held to ‘expose climate destruction’, according to its organisers
Annie Lane, 26, a campaigner from Glasgow, said: ‘Ineos Grangemouth is Scotland’s largest climate polluter. It is Scotland’s only crude oil refinery.
‘It also stores fracked gas from the States. Given the widely assumed ”ban” on fracking in Scotland, for fracked gas which harms communities worldwide to still be processed here is outrageously hypocritical.
‘We are here to expose the climate destruction that Ineos is causing. We are running out of time, with the climate crisis affecting so many in the global south already.’
Ineos plants at Grangemouth each emitted nearly half a million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air in 2016, according to the Herald.
Campaigners held up banners stating ‘No Future in Fossil Fuels’ and ‘Climate Justice = Social Justice’ and strapped them over their boats.
Police arrested protesters after they blocked the entrance to the plant on Bo’Ness road today
Two boats are being used to block the entrances to the refinery and the headquarters (pictured)
Campaigners held up banners stating ‘No Future in Fossil Fuels’ and ‘Climate Justice = Social Justice’
A man is led away by police outside the plant. A spokesman for Ineos said: ‘Ineos products are used in a wide range of every day and essential items, currently protecting frontline healthcare professionals and their patients’
The vessels have come to be a feature of XR protests, with a bright pink one boarded by actress Emma Thompson in Oxford Street, London, last year.
Extinction Rebellion Scotland said Covid-19 safety precautions are being taken, including face masks, social distancing and use of hand sanitiser, while participating activists are using a track and trace app.
But GMB Scotland secretary Gary Smith said: ‘Extinction Rebellion look detached from the reality and struggles of working people across Scotland today.
‘We are in the middle of a public health crisis and we are about to be hit by the biggest jobs crisis in a generation.
‘This comes in the same week where Scotland has been caught again exporting the jobs of the future in offshore wind manufacturing, while our workhorse industries like energy and aviation are facing decimation.
‘Our economy is in dire straits and no one in Scottish politics has a credible plan for jobs to aid our post-Covid recovery, but they seem willing to indulge Extinction Rebellion.
‘Extinction Rebellion claim they want to save the planet but you have to ask what planet they are on when they are intent on causing so much disruption to the lives of hard-working people.
‘They are looking and acting like part of the problem, not the solution.’
Meanwhile, an Ineos spokesman said: ‘Ineos products are used in a wide range of every day and essential items, currently protecting frontline healthcare professionals and their patients, whether through the use of PPE or the application of medicines to treat the effects of the pandemic and the development of antiviral drugs.
XR said Covid-19 safety precautions are being taken, including face masks, social distancing and use of hand sanitiser, while participating activists are using a track and trace app
Meg Peyton Jones, from Edinburgh, said: ‘We’re 10 years on from Scotland’s first Climate Act, and yet plants such as Grangemouth are still being expanded’
‘The use of plastics has been invaluable during these unprecedented times.
‘Our sites continue to explore ways to reduce our emissions. At the end of September, Ineos announced the largest ever purchase contract of wind energy for heavy industry in Belgium.
‘The deal will reduce annual emissions by 115,000 tonnes of CO2 each year starting from next year – the equivalent of taking 100,000 cars off the road each year
‘As more and more energy-intensive manufacturing industries in Scotland close down, then it is inevitable that those which the Scottish economy so heavily rely on will stand out above the rest in terms of their emissions.
‘Observers should be left in no doubt: manufacturing products in the UK we rely on every day, every week, every year reduces carbon footprint from importing such items, ensures compliance with the strictest environmental and safety standards and delivers carbon savings through their applications, “light-weighting” vehicles, components for wind turbines and so on.
‘We do our utmost to do this as efficiently (and environmentally responsibly) as possible – because this is how we will remain in business.’
A demonstration was also expected to take place outside the Ineos headquarters in London on Friday morning.
Meg Peyton Jones, from Edinburgh, said: ‘We’re 10 years on from Scotland’s first Climate Act, and yet plants such as Grangemouth are still being expanded.
A protester dressed in a Spider-Man costume climbs a section of scaffolding in London yesterday morning
‘We cannot trust big oil corporations to prioritise the planet and the long-term wellbeing of either their workers or the general population above squeezing every last drop of oil and gas out of the North Sea, no matter how much they try to distract us with greenwash about renewables.’
Police said they are aware of the situation.
A spokesman for Ineos added: ‘We note that early in the morning (around 7:30 AM), Extinction Rebellion blocked the entrances to INEOS office on Inchyra Road in Grangemouth. The group demands a transition away from fossil fuels.
‘INEOS respects the right to peacefully protest in a responsible and safe manner, but notes that over the 10 years between 2009 and 2019, CO2 emissions from the INEOS Grangemouth site have reduced by 37% and from the Chemicals business by 43%.
‘The site is operating normally.’
It comes a day after a man wearing an XR hat – dubbed a ‘rebel with many causes’ – scaled scaffolding near Big Ben in London with a banner with full of various causes.
The man appeared to be urging the Government to give northern England an extra £2billion in funding before putting areas into the tier three ‘very high’ alert level.
The unidentified protester in his 60s made reference to extra support being needed for the likes of Chester, Stoke, Derby, Nottingham, Boston and Skegness.
He also included the names of activist groups including Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter on his banners, which were unfurled around 8am yesterday.
Shortly before 10am, he came down before being arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass under section 128 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.
The man, who has not been named, is not thought to have gained access to the Big Ben site at any point.
One banner said: ‘No Tier 3 lock-down for Gt N’n Pwrhse unless an xtra £2bn for whole region from Chester, Stoke, Derby, Nott’m, Boston, Skeg’s to Scottish border. If not: Gt N’n rebellion. XR North + unions + BLM UK + LGTBQ + many more.’
Another banner, which he was pictured attaching to the scaffolding today, said: ‘Black and all lives matter so unify peoples of the world, unite and put things right.’