A PROTEST was disbanded by police as more than 50 residents gathered on Canvey to protest against the expansion of a chemical storage site.

Police descended on the protest today over concerns the large gathering in Haven Road breached Covid regulations.

The furious campaigners are battling against proposals by Oikos to more than double the amount of fuel stored at its plant on the island.

Police informed the group that under Covid regulations only 30 protestors are permitted to gather at once.

Documentary maker Jessi Gutch, 29, from south east London co-ordinated the rally after researching and working with residents and praised the huge turnout.

She said: “It went really well and we had speeches and chanting and then the police came and we had to disperse. You are allowed 30 people at a protest.

“People are saying they will start a petition against the plans too. There was a real sense of the community coming together to start the fight to stop this.”

George Whatley, of Lumbeg Road spoke at the protest and insisted this is just the start of the campaign.

Echo: Anger - some of the protesters Anger - some of the protesters

The 80-year-old said: “It was a matter of educating people about what I call a tank too far for the island. Hopefully we will be setting up a committee and there is also talk of a petition and also about getting a group together to march to London and take it to Westminster.”

A spokesman for Essex Police added: “We were made aware of a planned protest at Oikos Oil Storage in Haven Road, Canvey.

“We engaged with those attending to ensure people were safe and social distancing, and the protest passed off peacefully. We remained until the group dispersed.”


Tony Woodward, general manager of Oikos Storage Ltd, said: “We welcome the views of the community regarding the project to redevelop part of our existing facility on Canvey Island.

“We have received many responses and we will be carefully analysing them, in detail, in the next phase of the project to ensure we take account of the issues which have been raised.

“We operate a very modern facility and any future development will be built to the latest standards and overseen by independent regulators including the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive.”