Stop Kingsnorth: no to new coal power

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28 February 2008

Great expectations of stopping Kingsnorth

Medway is Dickens territory. Twice a year we have a Dickens Festival which attracts coachloads from all over the South of England and from the continent. Dickens used his novels to highlight abuses of power and the suffering of the poor with such passion and success that government decisions were affected. He showed the lives of the poor, hidden to most of his readers in real life, with great compassion and empathy.

The proposed replacement coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth is perhaps something he would write about today (though I suspect that he'd write scripts for Eastenders rather than novels). It is an abuse of power: we do not have to take the easy route of replacing like with like, but Medway Council has given planning permission (whilst calling for a Public
Enquiry) on the grounds that it will bring jobs to the area. This may be true but must be balanced against the effect on the air quality in Medway (and therefore the health of its residents).

Kingsnorth also impacts upon the lives of those poor people hidden from us in our daily lives. If Kingsnorth is allowed, it sets a precedent for similar replacements. This will increase the UK's CO2 emissions at a time when the Climate Change Bill promises to reduce them by 60% (and hopefully 80%). It will harm the environment, and we know that the people who suffer disproportionately from Climate Change are the poorest people on earth.

As this is Lent I am trying to implement some of the ideas in TEARfund's Carbon Fast. One of them is to write to the Government requesting more decisive action on Climate change. Whatever our religious beliefs, I'd like to think we can all make that little sacrifice of time and effort before Easter to support WDM's call for a Public Enquiry on this issue. I think Dickens would be leading the way.

Richard Martin, WDM Medway group Co-ordinator

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