Stop Kingsnorth: no to new coal power

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22 February 2008

Local opposition to the new Kingsnorth power station

The story goes that my step-grandfather, who was very deaf, used to drive his steam-roller through the streets of Medway on his way to various building sites. He was oblivious to the tailbacks behind him. For one job, he had to drive it across Rochester bridge, through Strood town centre, up Frindsbury Hill, and out onto the Hoo Peninsula – and then back again at teatime. This went on for many months. Why? He was part of the construction team at the then new Kingsnorth coal-fired power station.

Every Saturday my daughter and I walk from Gillingham to the Riverside Country Park, along the banks of the Medway. In the foreground is the ever-changing flow of water, which at high tide comes right up to the banks but at low-tide exposes a vast expanse of mud. Although the full river is very attractive, it is the low tide that makes the area important: here hundreds of thousands of migratory birds make feeding stops en route to their destinations. Yesterday at the Country Park the RSPB had an “Aren’t Birds Brilliant?” event for children: so far this week they have spotted 54 different species. The mud flats, and the bird life they sustain, are what persuaded the government to abandon plans to build the third London airport on the Isle of Grain. All this natural beauty and wildlife is in the foreground as we walk.

If we raise our eyes across to the far bank of the river, what do we see? None other than the Kingsnorth power station. It is now virtually obsolete: as obsolete as a steam-roller. And yet, if E.ON get their way, it is going to be replaced with another coal-fired power station. No doubt the construction techniques will be as modern and efficient as possible. Yet the technology inside it will not be modern: in fact it won’t be any less polluting than the current one.

Thankfully, I now have a chance to stop these plans. The people of Medway, supported by national campaigns from groups like the RSPB, and with the support of our MPs, defeated the airport plans. We now need to galvanise people to oppose the new Kingsnorth. Through WDM’s expertise, our local group can hopefully play a big part in this. I know we can succeed. Let’s drive a steam-roller through these plans!

Richard Martin, WDM Medway group Co-ordinator

Visit WDM Medway group's web page

Take action: email John Hutton and demand a public inquiry

Photo: Peter Cook (creative commons)

1 comment:

Earthpal said...

There is a climate scientist called Dr. Jim Hansen whom George Bush has unsurprisingly tried to silence. He recently visited the UK, partly inspired by the governments decision to approve the Kingsnorth construction plan for a new coal-fired power station.

According to the report which I've linked to below, he believes that coal will destroy the planet.

“We are fast approaching a series of tipping points. Changes such as the melting of the Arctic ice cap, the acidification of the oceans and the global rises in temperature could be approaching the point of becoming irreversible.

“In the face of such threats it is madness to propose a new generation of power plants based on burning coal, which is the dirtiest and most polluting of all the fossil fuels. We need a moratorium on the construction of coal-fired power plants and we must phase out the existing ones within two decades.”