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Home | Friday 30th October 2009 | Issue 697

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After last week’s ‘Great Climate Swoop’ at Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottingham (See SchNEWS 696), campaigns against the environmental disaster that is the coal industry continue to build momentum. This week saw actions targeting coal fired power and opencast coal mining across the country with digger-diving, chimney scaling and lock ons all round...


Last Monday (26th) activists scaled the chimney and shut down the coal supply at NPower’s flagship power station in Didcot, Oxfordshire. The protesters forced the power station to switch from burning coal to gas – a far less harmful fuel – for the duration of the action.

The activists reached the power station at 4:30 am. One team locked on to the coal conveyor belt that feeds the plant’s boilers, while the others climbed up the inside of the 200-metre high chimney until they reached the top. The group initially planned a two-week stint at the top of the chimney but came down after two days when conditions became too hot.

Police arrested the coal crew in the first 24 hours before nicking the nine chimney sweeps.Through the use of punitive pre-charge bail conditions, the police have slapped the protesters with various restrictions before they have even been charged with a crime - including barring two Oxford University students from Oxfordshire.

Before descending, one of the protesters said, “I’m a qualified builder and will be 52 in a week’s time. I never thought in my life I would do anything like this. It’s amazing how working with committed people can empower you to confront these massive companies and help force real change in the world.”

Another said, “If we wait around for our government to tackle climate change without any real intentions, we will not have any hope for our future. This is about acting now, and further action must be taken.”



Earth First! activists brought work at the opencast coal mine near Shipley, Derbyshire, grinding to a halt on Monday (26th) by occupying six site vehicles.

Around 20 protesters entered the site in the morning before locking on to diggers. The action ended at around 1.30pm when the 11 remaining protesters were arrested for aggravated trespass. The 11 have been charged and will appear at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court next month.

EF! activist Andrew Kirkman said, “As local people can attest, the handful of jobs that opencast coal mining provides hardly compensate for the noise, traffic and pollution that we have to suffer. Local people fought long and hard against the this mine, not just for our sakes but also for that of our children.”



Those tireless campaigners at Mainshill had a busy week, shutting down the site in two days of relentless action.

Things kicked off on Monday (26th) morning when the site access road used by loggers and contractors was blocked by two large barricades and two people locking on. They successfully blockaded access to the site for seven hours.

With no thought of wussy luxuries like sleep, the action continued through the night. Protesters forced machinery off site when loggers showed up for a bit of midnight tree-felling, dangerously close to tree-houses, tunnels and other defences.

With bleary eyed Mainshill contractors asking themselves ‘what are these people on and where can we get some?’ activists were at it again first thing in the morning when two people locked-on to harvesting machinery trying to enter Mainshill wood.



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