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BBC NEWS: Shell wins legal bid to prevent Greenpeace boarding installations

Energy giant Shell has won a court order preventing environmentalists from boarding unmanned North Sea installations.

Lawyers acting for the company went to the Court of Session in Edinburgh seeking an interim interdict against Greenpeace.

It comes after protesters boarded platforms in the Brent field off Shetland in October.

Lady Carmichael ruled the activists had no right to enter the installations.

Greenpeace had claimed an order would breach its right to protest, and described the ruling as a “setback” – but said a possible appeal would be considered.

The group is opposed to what it has described as “thousands of tonnes of hazardous oily sludge” being left inside the concrete legs of decommissioned platforms.

Injure themselves

The judge concluded that since the installations were private property, Shell had a legal right to stop the climate activists from accessing them.

She also ruled that given the physical state of the installations, protesters could injure themselves.

Lady Carmichael said that these health and safety considerations gave the company the right to stop Greenpeace from boarding the facilities.

The judge added: “I have decided to grant the motion for interim interdict. The defenders have no right or title to enter the installations.”

Greenpeace can no longer go within a 500m (1,640ft) safety zone around platforms in the Brent field.

In a statement following the case, Shell said it had sought the court order to prevent protesters breaching the statutory 500m safety zones around platforms “putting themselves and Shell staff at risk”.

‘Shut us up’

“We wholeheartedly support the right to protest peacefully and safely. We’re pleased this decision recognises that the existing legal safety zone should be respected by campaigners,” the statement added.

Greenpeace said it was waiting for a written ruling, which it would “thoroughly analyse” before making any decisions about a possible appeal.

They added: “This is a setback. Greenpeace has almost 50 years of experience with safe and peaceful protest.

“We strongly believe in the right to protest and will keep defending it. Shell can try to shut us up, but we will only get louder.”

The protests in October saw Greenpeace protesting against the method of decommissioning platforms in the Brent oil field which is about 116 miles (186km) north east of Shetland.

In June, Greenpeace carried out a 12-day protest involving a drilling rig.

Campaigners boarded the Transocean rig in the Cromarty Firth, which was bound for the Vorlich oil field east of Aberdeen.

They delayed its departure from the Cromarty Firth for five days.

The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise then shadowed the rig into the North Sea, and the group said the rig was forced to turn back towards land.

A swimmer with a banner also entered the water as part of attempts to block the rig’s path.

The 12-day protest resulted in numerous arrests.

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