Stop Kingsnorth: no to new coal power

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14 March 2008

Kingsnorth coal campaigners plead 'not guilty'

Five Greenpeace volunteers faced their first court hearing today over the shutting down of one of Britain's dirtiest power stations, at Kingsnorth in Kent, last October. They pleaded 'not guilty' at Maidstone Crown Court to charges of criminal damage and trespass. The charges relate to climbing a 200m smokestack on the site and painting a message to the prime minister - "GORDON BIN IT" in huge letters down the side. They took action because the government is considering considering proposals for a new generation of coal-fired plants.

The five are Huw Williams, Emily Hall, Ben Stewart, Kevin Drake and Tim Hewke. They climbed 1,000 steps to the top of the smokestack as part of a wider move to shut down Kingsnorth. One of the dirtiest coal plants in the country, the facility emits an estimated 20,000 tonnes of CO2 a day. They were also protesting against plans to build Britain's first new coal power station for a generation at the site. A new plant would pump out millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases every year and open the door to at least seven other new coal fired power stations across the country.

Gordon Brown has been repeatedly asked to veto the plans but has so far refused. His government even convened a coal forum to "bring forward ways of strengthening the industry, and work to ensure the UK has the right framework to secure the long term future of coal-fired generation".

Mr Brown's decision on new coal will tell us how serious he is about tackling runaway climate change. Approving Kingsnorth would fly in the face of advice from the UN's top climate scientists, who warn that global emissions must peak and then fall dramatically within the next 100 months to avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change. Nobel Peace prize winner Al Gore said in August last year: "I can't understand why there aren't rings of young people blocking bulldozers and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power stations."

Last October there were, at Kingsnorth at least. And now they are preparing to stand trial for it. The trial date has been set for September.

Take Action

Please help to keep up the pressure against new coal plants by writing to Business Secretary John Hutton and telling him that we want him to put action on climate change before profits for business, and a public inquiry into Kingsnorth.

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