Labor is calling for an immediate nationwide ban to block the Just Stop Oil demonstrations.
Protests have caused “misery” for motorists, the Labor Party said in a statement on Monday, citing statistics published by the Campaign for Fair Fuel that say around one in three petrol stations in southern England have been forced to close.
Labor is demanding the government bring in an injunction that would ban protests not only at oil terminals but also to stop them across Britain’s roads network.
“An injunction would simplify police operations by enabling them to more easily make arrests,” the statement says.
Just Stop Oil has been blocking oil infrastructure across the country in recent days. Last week, climate activists broke into the UK’s largest inland oil terminal, Kingsbury in Warwickshire, and chained themselves to pipes, bringing distribution to a halt.
Before that activists disrupted major football games, managing to lock themselves on to goal posts.
The coalition of climate activists wants the government to halt new fossil fuel licensing and production.
A report by the United Nations published last week found that global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak by 2025 to warn a “catastrophic” temperature rise.
At a press conference announcing the report, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres called investing in new infrastructure relating to fossil fuels, which are behind the continuing rise in planet-heating greenhouse gases, “moral and economic madness”.
“Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals,” he said. “But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing production of fossil fuels.”
Steve Reed, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, said motorists were already being hammered by prices at the pump, and now millions are unable to access fuel.
“Tory ministers need to get on with their jobs,” he said. “This is all happening on the government’s watch – they need to sort this out.”
Fuel prices have jumped as oil and gas costs soared in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A government spokesperson said Labour’s claims were “nothing more than irresponsible scaremongering.”
“Just Stop Oil protest activity at some oil terminals has led to short-term disruptions to fuel deliveries over the past few days. The police are working to remove protestors from sites so normal deliveries can resume,” the spokesperson said.
“We are working closely with industry to ensure that supplies are maintained. The public should continue to purchase fuel as normal.”
Just Stop Oil accused Labor of having “forgotten its history” of “struggle and resistance”.
A spokesperson for the protest group said: “The Labor party is now betraying the youth of this country, of every country and are complicit in climate genocide.”