Stop Kingsnorth: no to new coal power

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24 April 2008

Rob Newman on Kingsnorth

7 April 2008

If Kingsnorth is built, the Climate Change Bill will go up in smoke

People and Planet were out on Parliament Square as part of Fossil Fools' Day.

Three cooling towers were put up on Parliament Square, directly opposite the Houses of Parliament, all of which bore the slogan, ‘No to New Coal’. A copy of the Climate Change Bill was set alight and went up in smoke, which is just what will happen to the UK’s carbon emissions targets should the power stations be built. The stunt attracted the attention of some of those inside, as Mark Lazarowicz MP (Edinburgh North & Leith) and Martin Salter MP (Reading West) came to talk to protesters.

Students from several P&P groups then took their message inside Parliament as they took part in a mass lobby of their MPs. They called for a full public inquiry into the Kingsnorth proposal so that the debate over a coal-powered future can be had out in the open. New coal power stations will tie the UK into the dirtiest of energy sources for a generation.

Find out more on the People and Planet website.

4 April 2008

Why are we going back to coal?

Great comment piece in yesterday's Times questioning the new coal rush in general and Kingsnorth in particular...

"It is extraordinary that the Government is trying to rush through a new generation of coal-fired power stations. Coal produces almost three times as much carbon dioxide per unit of electricity as gas. The shift from coal to gas in the 1980s accounts for almost all the progress Britain has made on reducing emissions. But John Hutton, the Energy Minister, has been bending over backwards to help the energy company E.ON to build a new plant at Kingsnorth, Kent, which now has planning permission."
Read the full article

PS There's a big verbal punch up going on in the comments section following this story, so feel free to weigh-in!

3 April 2008

Top scientists bring much needed common sense to the new coal panto

Yesterday, we at WDM would have been forgiven for thinking we were mid-panto season as we endevoured to clarify what the likely government response would be to E.ON's request for postponement of the planning application for Kingsnorth power station.

On contacting the team that handles planning consents at BERR, I was told unequivocally that oh no there hadn't been no such request made by E.ON for a postponement of the decision and that the application continues as is. Further investigations produced protestations from E.ON that oh yes there had indeed been a request made to the government both on the phone and in writing.

I then took the liberty of sending E.ON's press release to the contact at BERR, in response to his scepticism about the truth of my claims, who in turn reaffirmed that oh no there hadn't been such correspondence to his knowledge. Given it is his job to tackle such requests you would think he'd know, although he did suggest there was a chance it had got stuck "lost in the labyrinth" of the department.

It's enough to make you question what it is all that taxpayers money gets spent on? Its not on communications by all accounts. Which is not something we would say about the Royal Society. Their announcement today shows the organisation to be using its part-government funding to more much constructive ends.

Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society said today: "Allowing any new coal-fired power station, such as Kingsnorth, to go ahead without a clear strategy and incentives for the development and deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology would send the wrong message about the UK's commitment to address climate change, both globally and to the energy sector."

Common sense at last!

2 April 2008

Save the world: drink EV-E.ON

Well it seems that someone has finally come up with a solution to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).
The marketing geniuses have come up with EV-EON an "unnaturally carbonated water drink", which gets rid of all the pesky CO2, giving John Hutton the green light to go-ahead with his dream of a coal-fired UK.

On their April 1st launch day EV-EON said:

"Whilst we were outside the Houses of Parliament we came across some pesky students who were chanting against our proposed coal fired power station at Kingsnorth, so we interrupted and in front of the world’s media explained that it would all be ok because we now have the solution; carbon capture bottled water. They were so impressed they left happy as larry."
So there you go - a solution to the carbon capture problem we can all drink - provided of course that no-one ever burps.

Find out more about Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

Drink EV-EON and help stop climate change*

*remember: no burping!

1 April 2008

April 1st: Fossil Fools' Day!

Fossil Fools' Day has really packed a punch already, and its only 11.30 am! Here’s a round up thus far:

WDM calls John Hutton a 'Fossil Fool' at the department for business in Westminster

Westminster awoke to cries of “Roll up! Roll up! Come see the Fossil Fool” at 8am this morning as 15 jesters and 30 protestors arrived at the department for business to laugh at John Hutton, the minister responsible for the government’s push to build a string of new coal-fired power stations in the UK. Carrying banners which read: “New Coal? You must be choking!” the campaigners were juggling coal and planet Earths and wearing John Hutton ‘jester’ masks and hats. They called on Gordon Brown to take charge of John Hutton’s laughable coal plans and launch a coal power strategy review to consider the climate impact of going back to dirty coal.

This protest comes a day after energy giant E.ON asked John Hutton should delay the decision on the plans to build a coal fire power station in Kingsnorth in Kent. E.ON wants the government to postpone the decision until after the consultation into carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been completed.

Benedict Southworth, director of the World Development Movement said:

“John Hutton must not be a fossil fool, and force the UK to become reliant on the dirtiest fuel known to man. He must freeze his support for new coal power. If he irresponsibly pushes his plans forward, he will entrench the deep cabinet divide over reverting to coal energy and the government will be in trouble over coal.

“Gordon Brown must realise that the only sensible course of action now is to completely review his policy on coal in the UK, and call a coal power review that will consider the climate impact of going back to dirty coal.

“And Brown must remember that this is not only a decision that will affect the UK, but will have huge consequences for the world’s poor who will be hit first and worst by climate change.”
Interviews/comment, call Kate Blagojevic on 020 7820 4900/ 07711 875 345.

For more pictures see Flickr.

Read more about Fossil Fools' Day on the WDM website

Watch the fossil fools on the ITV local news

Meanwhile, across the country...

Protesters shut down open-cast coal mine, Wales
Protesters Shut Opencast Coal Mine Direct action exposes ‘black hole’ in climate change policy Tuesday, 1st April, 2008: At 7am this morning, protesters halted work at one of the biggest opencast coal mines in Europe. They intend to remain on the site for several days.

Climate activists blockade E-on in Nottingham, UK
Climate activists from Eastside Climate Action blockaded E-on workers as part of International Fossil Fools Day.
7:30 this morning 30 people blockaded the entrances to E-on’s offices on Mount St, Nottingham City Centre. People covered in green paint to represent E-on’s greenwash, locked onto the front entrance to E-on’s office and stood in front of other entrances preventing E-on workers from getting to work.

Activists Blockade Major Gas Terminal, Norfolk UK
Earth First! UK activists today blockaded the UK’s largest off shore gas terminal at Bacton in Norfolk. 40% of the UK’s domestic gas comes ashore here, is processed and distributed by pipeline. Activists blockaded the main road outside the site at 6.30 am this morning, preventing construction workers and shift workers from arriving.

Fossil Fools Day “kicks off” early in London!
Fossil Fools Day 2008 got an early start today - with London Rising Tide “kicking” things off. In front of the Football Association headquarters in London, Rising Tide protesters issued the FA a Red Card for accepting sponsorship from E.ON - a utility company proposing to build new coal-fired power plants in the UK.

Live from the Coal Hole

Fossil fools aren’t in short supply these days. Today they’re being uncovered all across the country, and we decided to go straight to the source of the problem. Ffos-y-Fran opencast coal mine in south Wales will produce 10 million tonnes of coal over the next 15 years – which when burnt will release over 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Today we decided to make a stand for just leaving coal in the ground.

Over thirty protestors have entered the mine and occupied some of the enormous digging machines that are scraping out the coal hole. Another group have decided to block the front gate, and are stopping anyone getting in and out of the main compound. Yet more energetic activists have scaled the largest building on site – the coal washery – and are wrestling with an ambitious 36 metre long banner which declares: “Coal, the black hole in UK climate policy.”

Ffos-y-Fran (pronounced fors-ur-vran) is a potential monster, which will spread itself over 1000 acres, the area of a thousand football pitches – a 200 metre deep monster, just waiting to belch forth coal across the country, and coal dust across the town of Merthyr. It’s taken us in the climate change movement a long time to catch up with locals who have been opposing the mine, and others like it, for decades. In a short film on the website, local resident Alison is keen to make the links between local and global:

“I know that a lot of the climate groups are listening to us now – they’ve been shocked to hear about the scale of this scheme. When you think about it, Aberthaw [power station, in Swansea] is the largest polluter in Wales, and we’re feeding the largest polluter in the country. It doesn’t make sense.”
For coal, stopping Kingsnorth is the end of the line - the last chance to stop the carbon getting into the atmosphere. Ffos-y-Fran represents the beginning of the line. We know from the timidity of our government on climate issues that once the coal is out of the ground, it will probably be burnt. Al Gore said that he couldn’t understand why there weren’t rings of young people stopping bulldozers from building new coal fired power stations. Good thought Al, we’ve got to stop Kingsnorth. But today, we decided to take you at your word a few steps up the supply chain.
Pictures, videos, updates and more at
Flickr pictures of the protest