A TRAWL through the Echo archives provides a fascinating look back to when Canvey took on the world’s oil and gas giants in the Seventies.

In 1973, protesters took on the Italian government and Oxicental Petroleum, an American oil company, in a bid to stop 4,000 acres at Northwick Corner taken up by two proposed oil refineries.

A string of demonstrations and public inquiries took place, as the island’s protest powered through to Parliament.

The strength of the movement told, as the campaign successfully defeated the plans later that year.

It was the first time in European history construction of an oil refinery was prevented from going through.

Five years later, in June 1978, the island united once more after the IRA planted a bomb at the former Texaco plant, in Haven Road.

Fortunately, there were no injuries and residents used the incident to campaign for greater gas safety on the island The People Against Methane group, set up by Canvey resident George Whatley, is still battling to improve standards at Canvey’s Oikos and Calor Gas sites more than 30 years after first forming.

At present, the group is pushing for a cross-party debate in a bid to improve safety.