Home | Friday 17th September 2010 | Issue 739
SCOTTISH OPEN CAST MINING: WHAT'S HAPPENDON?
Early on Sunday (12th) evening, a group of activists descended on Happendon wood, in South Lanarkshire, to occupy an area that is likely to be mined by Scottish Coal. Around 30 activists have spent a busy week setting up camp and preparing infrastructure for what could be a long-term occupation. The camp already boasts a two-storey communal building and kitchen, shelters and defences.
Campers say the atmosphere is positive and energetic. They report that the daily visits of police have so far been chilled. Scottish Coal and land-leasers Douglas & Amgus Estates (Lord Home) have yet to make an appearance. Given that last year’s Mainshill camp just down the road survived for seven months and took a five day eviction and 45 arrests to clear (see SchNEWS 708), there must be a lot of head scratching going on at Scottish Coal HQ.
The Happendon Wood Action Camp is part of the longer campaigns of Coal Action Scotland, and the local community, who resist coal mining expansion in the Douglas Valley area - already one of the most heavily mined in Europe. Scottish Coal has not yet publicly declared plans to mine the area. However, planning permission for mixed use development on the land has been applied for by the Scottish Resources Group. As there is recoverable coal on site, the area will have to be mined before development - not doing so would be illegally ‘sterilising the nations assets’.
The camp is not only focussed on protecting the woodland from development through direct action, but also on acting as a base for community and activist resistance against new fossil fuel production in the region.
Happendon Wood is 30 miles south of Glasgow. The camp encourages visitors, helpers and material/financial donations. See http://coalactionscotland.org.uk/?page_id=1974