British Cycling says it "respects the public's right to protest" but insists the partnership with Shell will bring "benefits" after Extinction Rebellion activists scaled the National Cycling Centre in Manchester and displayed banners criticising the governing body's deal with the oil and gas giants.
Dani Every — British Cycling's Acting CEO who stepped in after Brian Facer walked away from the role a month after the controversial deal with Shell UK was announced — said the governing body had "worked to engage with and listen to those within our sport and more widely on the benefits that our partnership".
In a statement, Every said:
We respect the public's right to protest and have worked to engage with and listen to those within our sport and more widely on the benefits that our partnership with Shell UK will bring.
The eight-year partnership will see a long-term, shared commitment to: supporting Great Britain’s cyclists and para-cyclists through the sharing of world-class innovation and expertise; accelerating British Cycling's path to net zero; and delivering ways to make cycling more accessible for disabled people
On Sunday two Extinction Rebellion Midlands protesters were seen displaying a 'Get Shell out of British Cycling' banner above the entrance to the National Cycling Centre.
British Cycling did not comment on the protest group's accusation that the governing body was "taking their AGM online" due to the "likelihood of vocal opposition".
Extinction Rebellion also hosted a Critical Mass Ride which was held on Sunday morning in Birmingham to demand Shell get "out of British Cycling".
As British Cycling yesterday prepared its response, Extinction Rebellion targeted another company with a familiar name to cycling fans, spraying Ineos' London headquarters with black paint and displaying a banner reading 'Ineos = plastic = death'.
👀Watch as rebels take action outside @INEOS in Knightsbridge
INEOS own most of the licenses to drill for oil in the North Sea & most UK fracking licenses.
— Extinction Rebellion UK 🌍 (@XRebellionUK) November 21, 2022
The multinational chemicals company sponsors a host of professional sports teams, including the Ineos Grenadiers cycling team and French football team Nice, but have attracted greenwashing accusations for investing time and money in sport to improve its image.
Ineos Grenadiers' first race under the petrochemical conglomerate's banner, the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire, was met with protests by anti-fracking campaigners, many wearing masks of Ineos' owner and CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
Then, in December 2020, four arrests were made as the team's vehicles were vandalised by environmental campaigners in Belgium. The attack on the team's service course saw 'Ineos will fall' graffitied on some vehicles and others wrapped in tinfoil.
According to environmental organisation ClientEarth, Ineos produced 22.8 million tonnes of petrochemicals in 2020, its largest facility, in Grangemouth in Scotland, emitting over 3.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2019.
Ineos says, in its 'sustainability book', it is aiming to cut energy use, reuse waste energy and to use lower carbon sources of energy in its production process, as well as expressing a commitment to "developing roadmaps to deliver net zero emissions across all of our operations by 2050".
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.