More than 50 Just Stop Oil protesters, including Scarborough Labor councilor Theresa Norton, were jailed last week after refusing to comply with a court order preventing them from blocking the Kingsbury oil terminal in Warwickshire.
The campaigners are calling for urgent action to tackle climate change – including stopping the expansion and use of fossil fuels in the UK.
Huge swaths of North Yorkshire could potentially soon see fracking exploration after Prime Minister Liz Truss announced the Government will lift a ban on gas drilling to improve energy security.
Still, critics argue that it will have a damaging impact on the environment and that it would take years to realize any impact on energy prices.
Cllr Norton appeared before Mr. Justice Lavendar at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. However, protesters in London – and at a separate hearing in Birmingham – refused to comply and stood on chairs, turning their backs on the judge and reading out prepared statements, The Guardian reports.
The defendants stated that they would immediately return to Kingsbury Terminal to violate the injunction if released on bail. In response, 21 protesters in London and 30 in Birmingham were remanded in custody and will appear in court again this week.
Since the group first began blocking oil terminals in April, there have been more than 1,350 arrests.
In a statement, Cllr Norton said: “We are in the midst of a climate and ecological emergency, as declared by Parliament in 2019.
“We have, as a nation, endured more than a decade of austerity which has hit the poorest in society the hardest.
“Two years of a global pandemic, endured by those who followed the rules and the essential workers we were encouraged to thank – not by raising wages, but by applauding their courage.
“Now we are to be punished again by high energy bills and the rising cost of living, which is in no way commensurate with current wage levels for the average working person.”
The Labor councillor, who represents the Eastfield ward, was arrested four times in eight days in September 2021 after joining demonstrations on the London motorway.
Cllr Norton, of Esplanade Gardens, and four other campaigners were all charged with contempt of court and jailed for between 24 and 42 days.
Cllr Norton was elected to Scarborough Borough Council in 2019 and sits on the planning and standards committees.