High Court injunction aims to stop fuel protesters blocking sites in Essex

Police officers from the Protester Removal Team work to free a Just Stop Oil activist who is part of a blockade at the Tritan Truck Park in Grays, Essex. Activists from Just Stop Oil have blocked access to the Titan Truck Park and revealed a secret underground network of tunnels at the Navigator and Grays oil terminals. Picture date: Saturday April 2, 2022.
Protesters have glued themselves to roads and lorries as part of their demonstrations Credit: PA

A High Court injunction has been granted to stop environmental protesters from returning to blockade fuel distribution sites.

Activists from campaign groups including Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion began protesting at sites in Essex and Warwickshire at the start of the month as they called on the government to stop investing in new oil and gas projects.

The protests have halted supplies to petrol stations across the country and been blamed for fuel shortages, while Essex Police, whose officers have made 461 arrests, revealed that within a week of the protests starting the policing costs had already topped £1m.

Thurrock Council has now obtained a High Court injunction which prevents protesters from blocking roads or impeding vehicles at key fuel terminals in the borough.

It also gives police the powers to quickly and effectively move on anyone attempting to block the sites.

Essex Police said it had been put under "real strain" by the protests Credit: Essex Police

In a statement, the authority said: "The innovative legal measures prevent the activity and tactics protesters used to create disruption at these sites and is set to act as a deterrent to anyone who is thinking of coming to Thurrock to carry out similar activity in the area in the future."

It added: "Thurrock Council has worked together with our partners to secure this vital injunction, which is the first of its kind to include specific roads, petrol forecourts and other vital fuel infrastructure beyond the premises previously targeted by protesters."

The council said the protests had caused "disruption to the borough's road networks, local businesses, waste collections and other frontline council services" earlier in the month.

The injunctions cover areas around the Navigator Oil Terminal in Grays, Inter Terminal UK's site in Grays and Thames Oilport in Stanford-le-Hope. It also covers other key fuel infrastructures sites and filling stations in the borough, said the council.

Under its terms, protesters are prevented from blocking roads, stopping vehicles and gluing themselves to the road or vehicles.

The council said the measure was intended to prevent unnecessary disruption for local businesses and residents trying to access their premises, homes, petrol stations and travel near the sites.

Essex Police have charged 23 people in connection with incidents of disruption across the Thurrock district since 1 April, leading so far to one conviction.

The force said it had been put under "real strain" policing the protests, and called for the companies involved to invest more in their own security measures.