Extinction Rebellion protesters seal off bank on its last day in town

By Nick Knight   |   Editor   |
Monday 6th December 2021 7:00 am
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EXTINCTION Rebellion members from Teignbridge blocked the main entrance to the Barclays Bank branch in Newton Abbot in their latest protest against the high street bank.

Member Mike Puleston said: ’There was a good presence of XR activists locally, many from Teignbridge and Totnes.

’Police were fully informed and did indeed attend the protest and were satisfied activists were allowing the public access to the bank by another entrance although we had blocked the main entrance as planned.’

Extinction Rebellion announced that they would be closing down Barclays Bank in Newton Abbot ’in protest against Barclays continued funding of the fossil fuel industry which is killing life on Earth’.

Barclays Bank had already announced that the Newton Abbot branch would close permanently at 12pm.

A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion said: ’The decision by protesters from Newton, Teignmouth, Ashburton, and Totnes to close the bank half an hour earlier aims to draw attention to the climate crisis and put pressure on the bank to stop investing in fossil fuels.

’This is part of a UK-wide campaign calling on banks to stop funding the climate crisis by ceasing to invest in fossil fuels.’

Local environmental campaigner, David Ramsden said: ’Within 29 years, half of Newton Abbot town centre, including land right out to Teigngrace, and half of Teignmouth town centre, will flood with sea water every year because of rising sea levels.’

’With funding from Barclays and others, the fossil fuel industry has continued to grow. Without funding, this dirty industry would decline and cleaner safer renewable energy would replace it far more quickly.’

The spokesperson added: ’In May of this year, Barclays announced it would shrink its carbon footprint to net zero by 2050. However, the bank has been criticised for setting distant deadlines and for a lack of detail in their pledges.

’Barclays has not made clear commitments regarding the biodiversity impacts of their lending activities.’

Kingsteignton grandmother Jane Baker said: ’I’m terrified for my grandchildren.

She added: ’Because banks are investing family savings in new oil wells and coal mines which increase carbon emissions and heat the planet, my grandchildren will face food shortages leading to famines, a billion climate refugees, flooding from sea rise as well as the loss of much of our planet’s essential biodiversity.’

BARCLAYS STATEMENT

A BARCLAYS spokesperson said: ‘We are aligning our entire financing portfolio to support the goals of the Paris Agreement – significantly scaling up green financing, directly investing in new green technologies and helping clients in key sectors change their business models to reduce their climate change impact.

‘By 2025, we will reduce the emissions intensity of our power portfolio by 30 per cent, and reduce absolute emissions of our energy portfolio by 15 per cent. Increasing at pace, Barclays has already facilitated £46bn of green finance.

‘We are one of the only banks globally investing our own capital – £175m – into innovative, green start-ups. By deploying finance in this way, we are accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy and will become a net zero bank by 2050.’

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