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Climate activists hold protest outside BP meeting in Elgin

Climate change activists made their way to Elgin yesterday to protest as energy bosses met in the town.

Extinction Rebellion campaigners gathered outside the Mansefield Hotel to call for immediate changes to the industry.

They did so in light of the climate emergency declared by the Scottish Government and Moray Council.

BP was among the organisations in attendance at the meeting, which was organised by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry to discuss future energy opportunities for the north of Scotland.

Outside, protesters from Extinction Rebellion Inverness and Kinloss made their feelings known to officials, with placards and signs.

Andrew Heath was inspired to protest by what he said was “a feeling of desperation” and the belief that businesses like BP are not doing enough to curb climate change.

He said: “We are here today because there are serious issues facing planet earth and our welfare in the near future.

“Climate change has been spoken about for such a long time now but it often feels that many people still think of it as something that is going to affect us a long time in the future.

“The government has put forward 2050 as as a date for becoming carbon neutral and successfully reducing our dependency on fossil fuels.

“The scientists at the forefront of climate change research, however, say that we have a lot less time than that to effect change.

“BP, meanwhile, are here today to discuss the development of fresh oil fields off the west of Shetland.”

Extinction Rebellion offered three easy tips to anyone who wants to help cut carbon emissions, including banking ethically, eating non-processed foods and reducing travel by plane.

Fraser Grieve, regional director for the Highlands and Islands Scottish Council for Development and Industry, greeted the protesters and welcomed the chance to exchange views with them.

He said: “This is an opportunity for us to look at the future energy opportunities for the Highlands and Islands and the north of Scotland and have a discussion about some of the changes and opportunities that are coming about.

“These include decommissioning and the change in our energy mix and what the future of that looks like as we address climate change and make sure companies are engaging in that discussion.

“Our role is try and look at what the future looks like for the Scottish economy and have discussions about this in an open and frank way.

“Having people express strongly-held views is something we should welcome and embrace and have a dialogue with them.”

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