YOUNG campaigners marched through the centre of St Albans this afternoon to protest about the Royal Bank of Scotland's support for environmentally damaging oil exploration.

Carrying banners and chanting slogans, a 60-strong group organised by Youth Against Climate Change marched from the bank's branch in St Peter's Street through the Maltings shopping centre and back.

Organiser Henry Parkyn- Smith, 17, of Lattimore Road, St Albans, said: "The Royal Bank of Scotland, which is 80 per cent owned by the taxpayer, is funding the exploitation of tar sands in a part of northern Canada roughly the size of England.

"They destroy all the forest, and then take bitumen out of the sands.

"It is three times as polluting as drilling.

" The residue all goes in the rivers. It kills wildlife and causes deformities in fish.

"Forests are important in the battle against climate change - they absorb carbon dioxide and reflect heat.

"The Government are so hypocritical. They say they care about climate change but they are using taxpayers' money to fund this terribly destructive oil exploration.

"The support we got today shows that young people are interested in politics - probably more than any other demographic group.

"They aren't fooled by the climate deniers - they know there is a massive amount of evidence that climate change is man-made."