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Climate activists block Downing Street in protest against North Sea oil drilling project

CLIMATE activists closed off the main entrance to Downing Street today in protest against the proposed Cambo oil drilling project in the North Sea.

Greenpeace led the protest of about 40 people, with 16 locked onto barrels and a giant oil-splattered statue of Prime Minister Boris Johnson that was placed in the middle of the road, while others held banners reading “Boris: Stop Cambo.”

The 90kg statue, created by artist Hugo Farmer, was accompanied by a sign reading: “Cambo oilfield: Boris Johnson’s monumental climate failure,” and its hands were completely covered in black oil.

The Metropolitan Police said it had removed the barrels and made seven arrests on suspicion of obstructing the highway.

The protesters called on the government to end Britain’s reliance on oil and urged Mr Johnson not to sign off on a permit for the Cambo project, which would reportedly produce the equivalent of the annual emissions of between 16 and 18 new coal-fired power stations.

The project is being met with fierce opposition and has become battleground for environmentalists before the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow this month.

Greenpeace UK oil campaigner Philip Evans said: “People across the UK are feeling the stresses of a gas price crisis as well as a climate crisis, and the government acknowledges that our reliance on fossil fuels has left the UK vulnerable and exposed. People are right to feel angry and upset. 

“Johnson’s failure to act has left us with petrol queues, energy companies going bust, offshore workers unemployed for months on end and a deepening climate crisis.

“Johnson must stop Cambo and instead prioritise a just transition to renewable energy to protect consumers, workers and the climate from future shocks. If he doesn’t, he will be remembered as a monumental climate failure.”

Directing a message to Mr Johnson on Twitter, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas warned that letting the Cambo project go ahead would risk creating “yet more devastating climate destruction. 

“If you’re serious about climate leadership, stop Cambo now.”

A spokesman for the Oil and Gas Authority said: “The development proposal for Cambo is being scrutinised in line with robust regulatory procedures. No decision has yet been taken.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said that obstructive protest tactics would not be tolerated, but claimed that the government was committed to tackling climate change.

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