On 23rd August last year, it was widely reported that “a substance similar to diesel or vegetable oil was poured onto the carriageways” that made up the A720 and A8 roads of Edinburgh.
As a result, protests took place where “hundreds of campaigners spent a week occupying the Gogarburn grounds of RBS’ headquarters protesting against what they believed were environmentally damaging investments”.
The Help Me Investigate investigation began with the legitimacy of the ‘oil slick’ claims, but eventually evolved, alongside The Guardian’s investigations, into the protests themselves.
Yet still, over four months later, Lothian & Borders Police have not released information relating to the costs of the protests, claiming Section 17 (information not found).
The first and second Freedom Of Information Requests were stalled, with Lothian & Borders Police originally claiming that “it will take some time before all costs (expenses etc) have been accounted for and I would therefore suggest that you re-apply for this information in about two month’s time”, and then, come October, announcing that “it is unlikely that this information will be fully collated until the end of October (at the very earliest) and I would therefore suggest that you re-apply after that time”.
The Guardian found similar roadblocks, and with this update last week, it seems that they are still no closer to finding any answers.
The Guardian tells us that “on three occasions since August we have used the Freedom of Information Act to ask the local police force to tell us the cost of policing the protests” but all have been refused.
The report also references the Help Me Investigate findings relating to traffic logs on the day of the alleged oil-spill.
The best quote to leave the story so far on is this:
“The Force Information Unit recommend you resubmit your FOI early in the New Year, as they hope to have a figure available in January.”
Over the weekend an investigation has been progressing into police claims of an "extremely reckless and dangerous act" that they linked to Edinburgh's ClimateCamp.
In their press release last week,?Lothian and Borders Police put out a press release
stating that around 9.30am "it was discovered that two arterial routes to Edinburgh were badly affected after a substance similar to diesel or vegetable oil was poured onto the carriageways.
"City of Edinburgh Council had to use 7.5 tonnes of grit to clean the A720 at Bankhead and the west bound A8.
"Lothian Buses removed its vehicles from the roads for a spell while the cleaning operation was carried out. The roads were never closed, but Police urged motorists to proceed with caution until noon when the road was clear once more."
Despite the press release being widely reported in the press, investigations on the site have so far found no evidence of any oil slick on the A720 or A8 in records from Traffic Scotland or the UK Traffic Reports Archive
, which?aggregates (and stores) traffic updates from the UK highways agency, and Traffic Scotland, amongst other bodies.
Guardian Local in Edinburgh have submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request on the matter. The police have suggested they re-apply in two months
Other members of the investigation have submitted separate FOI requests on separate matters.
The investigation still needs help following up avenues with possible witnesses and other bodies that would have been affected by such an oil slick. If you want to join in, sign up at http://helpmeinvestigate.com/investigations/187
– and if you need an invite, just drop me a line on paul (at) helpmeinvestigate.com