Climate protesters destroy fuel pumps at M25 services

Protesters have destroyed fuel pumps at Clacket Lane services on the M25, demanding that oil usage must be stopped. 

Just Stop Oil Clacket Lane petrol station protest. - Just Stop Oil

THE fuel pumps at Clacket Lane services on the M25 have been destroyed by anti-oil protesters. 

The protesters are a part of the group called “Just Stop Oil,” which “is a coalition of groups working together to ensure the Government commits to halting new fossil fuel licensing and production,” according to their website. 

Videos posted to social media show the protesters destroying the petrol station, which Surrey Police reported on Twitter at 14:19 had been cleared of protesters. Surrey Police also said that they were “hoping to re-open [the petrol station] shortly.”

The protesters want an end to oil and gas production, and an end to the use of oil and gas in the UK, and are calling on the government to make legislative changes that would enforce this. 

Of course, this is all fine in principle. It is not a secret that the climate is in a worsening condition, and we can experience the evidence of it quite frequently. Just a couple of years ago there was a week in February when it was 20+ Celsius. However, destroying petrol stations is not an especially effective way of bringing people around to your way of thinking, and ending the use of oil and gas in the UK would make a lot of people’s lives a lot harder. 

People rely on fossil fuels to power their cars or motorcycles to get to work, they rely on those fossil fuels to generate the electricity to power their homes, and they rely on those fossil fuels to keep the businesses they work for in operation. That’s not to say that those things cannot be changed, but successfully doing so would require something long-term, something which rendering 35 fuel pumps temporarily unusable is not. 

Certainly, the methods of Just Stop Oil have been successful in that people will have heard of them now. However, the opinion of a lot of people towards them is going to be negative, and therefore the opinion regarding their desires and demands of the government is going to be negative. 

Disrupting people’s lives something which generally does not lead to a positive outcome for the antagonist. People just want to do their day; go to work, go home; relax; not have to work around the fact that some people decided to block access to a petrol station.

Now, are fuel and oil companies ones to be defended by society? Well, not really, but it is much easier, day-to-day, to live with oil companies than it is to live with people who disrupt your life. That is probably a problem that society is going to have to overcome if it wants to genuinely deal with the climate crisis, but it is the current reality. 

We all agree that the next few years are going to be critical for the future of humanity and of the planet, but the reality is that people do not want to be annoyed. Just Stop Oil have an ultimately reasonable position, but their communication of that position is not so reasonable, and because it is annoying, it leads to the ignorance of their point. That said, with continuing inaction by those who have the power to make changes, the alternative is not clear.

Images courtest of Just Stop Oil.