Monday, October 26, 2009

anti-coal on a roll

I can’t understand why there aren’t rings of young people blocking bulldozers and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants

- Al Gore

Good point, but why wait for the new-build? As Richard Bernard said a week ago outside Ratcliffe on Soar power station as a thousand people attacked the fences

With Kingsnorth now shelved the time is for us to look at existing coal-fired power stations and say that coal has no future, fossil fuels have no future, it's time to close them down.

And as Kingsnorth settles in the sidelines, it's also time for other prospective builders to step into the firing line and see that every attempt to build new stations will come with a bumper pack of activists.

At 4.30am today protesters occupied Npower's flagship coal station in the UK, Didcot in Oxfordshire. Splitting into two groups - one shutting down the coal conveyor belts, another scaling the chimneys and abseiling inside so they can't be used - they say they have supplies to last them 'weeks, not days'.

One of them explained

N-Power, the company that runs this power station, is now the foremost advocate for new coal in the country. They want to build 30 new coal power stations in Britain and Europe. They expect to get planning permission for Hunterston in the next few weeks. We’re saying to them that we won’t leave until they cancel all their plans for new coal.

Hunterston - like Kingsnorth, at a site where an old station's being decommissioned - lost its major investor only a week after Eon announced the Kingsnorth climbdown. The owners, the Peel Group, say they'll press ahead anyway, possibly with money from Royal Bank of Scotland.

Meanwhile, the fact that RBS is now in public ownership means that, as Mark Thomas pointed out, they should be compliant with the government's stated carbon objectives, and ditch their £16bn of carbon-extractive investments. Indeed, a bunch of NGOs are in the High Court right now trying to force that to happen.

But today's action isn't just at Didcot. It's been a very active day for the coal-focused domestic extremists elsewhere too.

As Npower's station forcibly powered down this morning, up at Shipley in Derbyshire protesters occupied an opencast coal mine producing coal for - it's them again - Ratcliffe on Soar power station.

Meanwhile at Mainshill in Scotland, where there's an ongoing protest camp defending woodland under threat from a proposed opencast coal mine, access roads were barricaded and people locked on, ensuring no logging work can be done.

The changes we need are only going to happen if we force them to. The burgeoning climate justice movement glows with bright potential, but time is short. Those activists Npower are going to get sick of? That's you, that is.

And this coming weekend there's a weekend of info, action and whatnot at Mainshill.

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