People & Planet members peacefully encircled Ratcliffe-on-Sour coal-fired power station in Nottinghamshire last weekend in a public attempt to shut down the site. Many members of the protest, known as “the Great Climate Swoop” , successfully removed sections of fence and entered the station, the 3rd largest source of CO2 in the UK. Sources are unclear over whether the plant was running at normal capacity on Saturday (17th October), or whether it was running at “neutral”.
As well as attempting to shut down the plant, the protest held a “funeral” for UK coal, following E.on’s (who operate Ratcliffe-on-Sour) decision to shelve plans to expand Kingsnorth coal-fired power station in Kent and Dong Energy’s decision to pull out of the building of a new plant at Hunterston, citing a desire to invest in renewables. Coal is the most carbon-intensive form of electricity generation.
Mike Starkey from Edinburgh University People & Planet said: “E.on tell us that coal can be green – nothing could be further from the truth. Coal fired power stations are by far the dirtiest way to generate power and there is no proven technology to change that. We need to start building a low-carbon future now, and there is no place for coal in a green economy.”
Whilst disagreeing with their methods, UK Climate Change Minister Ed Miliband said “the aims of the peaceful campaigners were right” .
The group of nearly 1000 protesters included activists from the Camp for Climate Action, Plane Stupid, Climate Rush, and Panda.
- “The Great Climate Swoop” followed the summer Climate Camps in Blackheath, London, and Mainshill, South Lanarkshire, both of which included peaceful direct action and educational workshops (http://www.climatecamp.org.uk/actions/climate-swoop-2009).
- Ed Miliband quoted on ABC (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/10/19/2718276.htm).
- Photos available online (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ricjl/sets/72157622657525586/detail/).