Extinction Rebellion activists lock themselves to boats used to block entrances at Scotland's 'biggest polluter'

Extinction Rebellion Scotland activists have locked themselves to boats parked at a chemical plant to block access to the country’s “biggest polluter.”

The protesters are demonstrating at Ineos in Grangemouth after claiming the company requested a £500m bailout due to losses during the coronavirus.

They plan to spend the day tied to boats blocking access to the chemical manufacturer at the Bo’ness Road gate and on Inchyra Road, outside the company’s main office.

Activists have been pictured carrying banners and signs saying “the future you fear is already here” and “government funded ecocide" from about 7am on Friday morning.

Annie Lane, 26, a campaigner from Glasgow, said: “Ineos Grangemouth is Scotland’s largest climate polluter. It is Scotland’s only crude oil refinery.

“It also stores fracked gas from the States. Given the widely assumed ‘ban’ on fracking in Scotland, for fracked gas which harms communities worldwide to still be processed here is outrageously hypocritical.

“We are here to expose the climate destruction that Ineos is causing. We are running out of time, with the climate crisis affecting so many in the global south already.”

Mark, 46, a care worker from Glasgow, said: “I'm here today as an everyday citizen with Extinction Rebellion Scotland to highlight the fact that Ineos are Scotland's single biggest polluter driving climate change.

Extinction Rebellion Scotland activists lock themselves to boats used to block access to Ineos at Grangemouth picture: Extinction Rebellion

"Controversial fracked gas is imported from the U.S. to be turned into plastics here at Grangemouth, and Ineos recently requested a £500 million bailout due to losses they claim Covid restrictions caused."

In May this year, The Times reported Ineos called for an emergency government fund of up to £500m in light of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent slump in oil prices.

A demonstration will also be taking place today outside the Ineos headquarters in London.

Meg Peyton Jones, from Edinburgh, added: “We’re ten years on from Scotland’s first Climate Act, and yet plants such as Grangemouth are still being expanded.

"We cannot trust big oil corporations to prioritise the planet and the long term wellbeing of either their workers or the general population above squeezing every last drop of oil and gas out of the North Sea, no matter how much they try to distract us with greenwash about renewables.

“The government, big oil and big finance companies have outwardly promised for decades to reduce our destruction of the climate, whilst continuing to profit from it. We cannot continue to believe they will solve this crisis they created for their own gain: we need a people-led, worker-led solution, made for the people, by the people – not for profit by the profiteers.”

A spokeswoman from Ineos said: “Ineos respects the right to peacefully protest in a responsible and safe manner, but notes that over the ten years between 2009 and 2019, CO2 emissions from the Ineos Grangemouth site have reduced by 37 per cent and from the chemicals business by 43 per cent.

“Ineos products are used in a wide range of every day and essential items, currently protecting front line healthcare professionals and their patients, whether through the use of PPE or the application of medicines to treat the effects of the pandemic and the development of antiviral drugs.

"The use of plastics has been invaluable during these unprecedented times."

She said the company is focusing on reducing its emissions.

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