Dozens of environmental protesters have blocked critical oil infrastructure in Essex and the Midlands as they revived a campaign to “just stop oil”.
At daybreak on Tuesday, about 50 people took part in protests targeting three oil terminals, from where fuel is distributed to petrol stations, the activist group Just Stop Oil said.
In Essex, about 30 activists occupied the Inter oil terminal in Grays and blocked a road leading to the Navigator oil terminal in Thurrock, while five others occupied tunnels dug beneath access roads to the terminals.
In Warwickshire about 20 people tried to block access roads to the Kingsbury oil terminal, the campaign said. Four others were said to be occupying two tunnels near the site.
Just Stop Oil said protest tunnels were “totally blocking access to Kingsbury and Navigator oil terminals”.
Essex police said officers had arrested 18 people at three locations in Thurrock after receiving reports of disruption from just after 6am. The force said it was “responding to reports of people at height” at one site, adding: “This may require specialist equipment to bring them down safely.”
Insp Stuart Austin said: “We are working to resolve these situations as quickly and safely for all those involved.”
The Guardian has contacted Warwickshire police for information about the response to the protests at Kingsbury.
Just Stop Oil staged several weeks of coordinated protest actions at oil terminals and other pieces of oil infrastructure in the Midlands and south of England from 1 April, leading to hundreds of arrests and reports of fuel shortages around the region.
Oil distribution companies and local government responded to the protests by obtaining high court injunctions banning protest activity around a number of sites.
The campaign paused its protests around oil terminals over the summer, but supporters continued to stage actions including pitch invasions at football matches, trespassing on the track at the British grand prix, and gluing themselves to well-known works of art in galleries around the country.
In a recent statement, the government complained that Just Stop Oil’s protests had cost police £5.9m already so far in 2022.
Jeannie Donald-McKim, 58, a teacher from Witney, Oxfordshire, who took part in the protests near Kingsbury, said: “Our addiction to oil is fuelling climate collapse and causing the worst cost of living crisis in 40 years. People are getting desperate. We have run out of time for words. Now is the time for action.
“I urge everybody to step up and join us. This is the moment to come together and resist. We can do this. It’s not too late to make a difference. Join us on 1 October in Westminster.”