15/05/2023: Cambridge University Council condemns fossil fuel protestors after 13 hit reports in 10 months

Protestors throw black paint over the gate of Milton Hall, host to oil company supplier ProTechFlow solutions.

The University of Cambridge’s Council has publicly condemned climate activists for the first time in its journal of official business, the Cambridge University Reporter. The Council accused activists working under the banner of This Is Not A Drill of intimidating students and staff who are still researching fossil fuels and working with or accepting funding from fossil fuel companies. The Vice Chancellor has also stated elsewhere that the University has had to increase spending on security following the large number of actions carried out by the group in recent months. The Council’s statement is significant because, despite the hundreds of protests held against the University by Extinction Rebellion, including the digging up of Trinity College’s lawn in 2020, the Council has not made a public statement condemning climate activism before.

Shortly after the Council’s statement, another action was reported by This Is Not A Drill. This weekend, climate activists threw paint over the gates of Milton Hall, a luxury office suite based in an 18th century Georgian manor house on the edge of Cambridge. The building hosts the head office of ProTechFlow solutions – a “specialist supplier and stockist of valves to the oil and gas and petrochemical industries”.

A participant in the action said: “If Milton Hall’s management is surprised by our actions today, they need to do some introspection on their part in facilitating climate change. They’ve provided prestigious office space, phone services, and a Cambridge address to a company that unashamedly provides specialised services to fossil fuel companies around the globe. ProTechFlow Solutions makes bespoke parts for gas pipelines and oil rigs, shipping them anywhere in the world to keep the money flowing for their customers while they slowly but surely kill us through climate disaster and ecocide. Milton Hall must drop the company as a customer and stop enabling unethical companies.”

The action comes soon after the last reported by This Is Not A Drill – a window smashing at the “ecocide office building” 50 – 60 Station Road. The office and ProTechFlow Solutions are the first action targets This Is Not A Drill has reported on that are seemingly unrelated to the University of Cambridge, reflecting an increasing backlash against fossil fuel companies and their partners more widely in Cambridge. Activists say they targeted 50 – 60 Station Road because it provides offices to:

  • Eversheds Sutherland, one of the largest law firms in the world, who have represented Shell, Chevron and BP, and specialise in injunctions against protestors, including recently assisting Esso in suppressing protest at the construction of its new pipeline intended to supply Heathrow airport
  • Centrica, the owners of British Gas, who have extracted record profits from the cost of living crisis and Ukraine war
  • Charles River Associates, a global consulting firm who have worked on major oil company mergers such as BP/Statoil and Schlumberger/Cameron, and were hired by BP to defend them after their catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill