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Greenpeace activists on off-shore structures

Greenpeace activists have been protesting for nearly half a century against environmental destruction. Most recently they climbed offshore installations in the Brent oil field belonging to Shell and raised banners against the oil giant. Shell was looking to prohibit them from protesting within 500m (the established safety zone) of offshore platforms.

These structures were in various stages of decommissioning. Convention governing this was OSPAR which prohibits leaving disused structures wholly/partly in place but certain derogations are available subject to competent authority's satisfaction. Shell was seeking such permits to which Netherlands & Germany had objected, but UK had not and this was what activists were concerned about. Their view was that the structures if left in the ocean would degrade and cause pollution.

Shell’s case was that protesters should not come within 500m of the installations and that they had put themselves in danger as there were many safety risks.

The Scottish court noted that the 500m zone is the subject of primary legislation which was created with a view to protect the safety of workers and installations. Greenpeace protesters had no right or title to occupy them. They could choose from a wide variety of other locations to protest.

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