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Home | Thursday 24th September 2009 | Issue 692

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The residents of Mainshill Solidarity Camp have been keeping up the pressure on Scottish Coal this week, disrupting preparations for an opencast mine that would extract 1.7 million tonnes of coal and destroy 340 acres of South Lanarkshire woodland (See SchNEWS 691).

Along with stopping the logging machines gaining access to the site with a massive barricade - rigged up to the suspended walkways - protesters have been routinely stopping any work happening by digger diving and maintaining a stealthy presence in the area marked for clearing, making it impossible to fell trees safely. Local residents have been holding things up by approaching machinery and talking to operators about the impact of opencast coal mines on their community.

The ever-considerate local constabulary have been escorting workers and machinery on to site, helping pull down defences and barricades they meet on the way.

On Tuesday (22nd) one person scaled the drilling rig and prevented work for five hours. Specialist police climbers eventually managed to remove her. She reported,“Once they’d got me down they tried to carry on drilling, but because they’d stopped for so long, the hole had become unworkable, so they had to abandon boring.” She was arrested and appeared in Lanark Sheriff Court the following day, receiving a six month suspended sentence for breach of the peace. Scottish Coal claimed in court that the interruption had cost them £2,200. Our source confirms: “This is a crucial time for action. The longer we can delay preparatory work and the more we can cost Scottish Coal in the process, the greater the chance we have of winning this campaign.”

Their perseverance is certainly making an impact. A logging company sub-contracted by Scottish Forestry Commission have pulled out of the project after refusing to work while the camp is occupied.

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