Bristol MoD site blockaded: “Spend money on climate action, not on weapons.”

Activists from Extinction Rebellion block roads around the MOD in Filton, Bristol, December 11th 2020. Photo credit: Simon Holliday / simonholliday.com

  • UK government commits £24 billion in new defence spending 
  • Just £12 billion allocated to ‘green recovery’ investment

Early this morning, protesters from Extinction Rebellion Bristol and Christian Climate Action blocked access to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) site at Abbey Wood near Bristol. 

The blockade draws attention to what the protestors describe as the government’s “dangerously inadequate response” to the climate emergency. 

Roadblocks have been set up on three access roads to the site, with banners including the message “Invest in Life not Death”.

Activists from Extinction Rebellion block roads around the MOD in Filton, Bristol, December 11th 2020. Photo credit: Simon Holliday / simonholliday.com

“Government policy seems to be to prepare for the international instability that’s predicted as a result of increasing competition for resources. Rather than taking the radical action that experts have said is needed to prevent climate breakdown,” says Bristol Extinction Rebellion activist Sita Ruskin.

Independent policy think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has said that £33 billion in annual investment is needed to meet the government’s own targets.  

The government’s own Climate Change Committee has reported that the government has reached just two out of 31 of its own milestones, and is on track with only four of the 21 indicators on the path to zero carbon emissions. 

As the UK emerges from pandemic to face the even more-serious climate crisis, we are saying: “Military spending must not be a top priority.” 

Activists from Extinction Rebellion block roads around the MOD in Filton, Bristol, December 11th 2020. Photo credit: Simon Holliday / simonholliday.com

Sita Ruskin, speaking on behalf of Bristol Extinction Rebellion, says:

“We’re here to say to our government: Spend our money on combatting climate change – not on putting weapons into combat.  

“Failing to take action on climate change is what will fuel war. It’s predicted that conflicts could increase by 10% to 20% for every half degree Fahrenheit increase in global temperatures.”

Activists from Extinction Rebellion block roads around the MOD in Filton, Bristol, December 11th 2020. Photo credit: Simon Holliday / simonholliday.com

Protester Reverend Sue Parfitt of Christian Climate Action, says:   

“The Ministry of Defence itself has acknowledged that the UK should prepare for between 2.3 to 3.5 degrees of warming by 2100. 

“But we don’t believe the answer to the ‘aggravated threats to international peace and security’ is to develop more sophisticated weapons. 

“We have to spend the money that’s needed on climate action. If we fail on this, the results will be unimaginable suffering.”


Covid safety: All participants in this action have been given covid-compliant guidance. The gathering is a protest by a political body with a risk assessment which satisfies the requirements of regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999(30).


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