Just Stop Oil protests Clacket Lane

Three Just Stop Oil supporters have been convicted at Stratford Magistrates Court for their part in protests at Cobham Services on the M25 last April.

Christopher Ford and Alfred Beswick pleaded guilty to blocking access to Cobham services Ford was given a £100 fine and Beswick fined £85 fine and given a a 12-month conditional discharge.

Ben Buse pleaded not guilty and was ordered to pay a £150 fine.

Speaking before his court appearance Ford, 45, a nursery teaching assistant and father of two sons from Cambridge said: “The United Nations say we are at a ‘code-red’ for humanity. They, and scientists across the globe are screaming for humanity to stop using fossil fuels. So why is the government granting over 100 new licences for further exploration?

“Instead of making laws to move our society away from fossil fuels, they make laws to shoot the messengers – over 100 environmental protesters were imprisoned last year. The government, the laws they make, the legal system – the whole state – are not protecting the public, they are protecting short-term profits for the few, at the expense of our children’s futures.

“I find myself in court today, facing charges of aggravated trespass for protesting at the UK’s largest petrol station. I’ve been told by my solicitor that a recent high court decision has effectively taken away every defence. I’m facing a fine at best, imprisonment at worst. Another messenger is being shot… How, as a parent, with my children’s futures at risk, can I stand by and do nothing?”

Buse, 37, an earth scientist from Somerset, added:Last year the government approved the first new coal mine in 30 years, and is now licensing a further 100 oil and gas fields, destroying any hope of limiting warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. We are already seeing climate disasters around the world, as detailed in the recent Christian Aid report. Disregard for keeping the world below 1.5C of warming, is already causing serious displacement and death to millions of people.

“Democracy requires disruptive protest. History demonstrates many examples where civil resistance has captured imaginations and galvanised the necessary dynamic for change. The government is deaf and dragging its feet, while ignoring the calls to action from experts, ignoring the cost-of-living and climate crises. They would rather subsidise billionaires in the fossil fuel industry, rather than help the millions of people having to choose between heating and eating this winter.”

Ford, Beswick and Buse were the last of 35 Just Stop Oil supporters to appear in court for blocking two M25 service stations on the 28th April 2022.