Environment

The government will 'stop at nothing' to block disruptive climate protests, Grant Shapps says

The transport secretary called climate protests by Just Stop Oil "very, very dangerous" and said government measures to tackle disruption had been "effective".

Protesters holding a banner that reads: "No faith in fossil fuels"

Shapps said it was a "great pity" not all MPs agreed on tougher protest restrictions. Image: Sarah Wilson

The government will “stop at nothing” to prevent climate protests like this month’s Just Stop Oil demonstrations, transport secretary Grant Shapps has said.

Shapps added that it was “a great pity” some MPs had previously voted against stricter measures to tackle protests under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (PCSC), which was eventually voted through on Tuesday night.

The transport secretary’s comments were made during an appearance at the parliamentary transport select committee on Wednesday, where the minister was questioned about a number of departmental issues including passport delays, the P&O scandal and fuel supply. 

For the past few weeks, protesters from Just Stop Oil have staged demonstrations at oil terminals across the country.

Protesters have taken drastic measures during protests, including chaining or glueing themselves to infrastructure in order to disrupt oil supplies. The group says it wants the government to halt new oil and gas projects. 

Some councils, including Essex County Council and Thurrock Council, have been granted injunctions by the High Court to prevent protests from taking place.

Earlier this month, Labour leader Keir Starmer called for a nationwide injunction to be applied to protests around the UK, but this has not yet materialised. 

Shapps said previous nationwide injunctions, including the order levied on Insulate Britain protesters, have been “extremely effective” in tackling protests, but stopped short of saying the same would be applied to Just Stop Oil demonstrations.

The transport secretary called the Just Stop Oil action “really irresponsible” and “very dangerous”, and expressed disappointment that “not all sides of the house” voted unanimously for tougher restrictions on protesters fastening themselves to infrastructure in the Policing Bill vote. 

Shapps noted that oil supplies have not been significantly disrupted, with fuel stocks “at normal levels”.

“Not all sides of the house supported greater legal restrictions on, for example, glueing yourself to roads, which I think is a great pity,” Shapps said.

“It’s quite clearly on behalf of the motorists and hardworking people across the country.”

The Policing Bill went to another vote in the House of Lords last night, where peers voted by 180 to 113 to approve the legislation, which includes measures allowing police to restrict noise at protests. 

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