Tuesday, 16 December 2008
This morning thirty campaigners from Coal Action Scotland together with local residents peacefully blockaded the entrance to the Scottish Coal-operated Ravenstruther coal rail terminal in South Lanarkshire. Having stopped its reopening after the weekend, this action is currently preventing the delivery of thousands of tonnes of coal to power stations across Scotland. Protestors intend to stay in place as long as possible
With Scotland’s CO2 emissions increasing significantly, continuing the consumption of coal will make it impossible for Scotland to meet its 80% target reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. Angus Mcloud said “The fact is that the government will not meet its own targets. This confirms what climate protestors have believed all along – that the Scottish government is paying lip service to the dangers of climate change.”
The action is aiming to disrupt the operations of Scottish Coal and Scottish Power in the region. The protestors are acting to oppose the five open cast coal mines that deliver coal to the rail terminal and in resistance to the thirteen new open cast coal mines due to open in Scotland.
Protestors erected and scaled a 15ft scaffolding tripod, blocking trucks from entering the terminal. Others are locked by their necks to a conveyor belt and a bulldozer, preventing coal stockpiles from being loaded onto trains.
Tilly Gifford who is at the site said: “In the face of dangerous runaway climate change, increasing our dependence on coal – the most polluting of the fossil fuels – is simply unacceptable. We urgently need to make the transition to renewable energy and close existing mines. We shouldn’t even be thinking about new ones.”
The demonstration today is in support of communities opposing new open cast mines. Rebecca Mackenzie, a local resident said: “We’re here today to send a clear message that we don’t want parts of Scotland such as South Lanarkshire to become the most heavily mined areas in Europe, as they will be if permission is granted for all the new open cast coal mines currently being proposed. If sites such as Mainshill near Douglas can’t be stopped through legal avenues, then action will have to be taken to make sure these last remaining areas of un-mined countryside aren’t destroyed”.
Beth Whelan, the campaigner perched on the scaffolding tripod, said: “Local authorities, the Scottish government and companies such as Scottish Coal and Scottish Power are ignoring the scientific evidence on climate change. We have to take responsibility for our climate and our future, and stop the coal industry and its expansion. This is what we doing today: acting responsibly”.
It is estimated that 6,380 tonnes of coal were stopped from being transported from the coal mines to power stations, equivalent to 11,675,400 kg CO2 (11,675.4 tonnes) released into the atmosphere.
Coal Action Scotland apologizes to any workers affected by today’s demonstration, but in recognizing the desperate need to stop burning coal sees no other choice but to target the companies responsible for mining it.
The action lasted over 8 hours and resulted in 6 arrests and not a single chunk of coal was transported from the terminal.
Residents say no to new coal power
08 Dec Years of destruction for 9 days of power
YEARS spent plundering the landscape of Hartleyburn would only produce sufficient coal to run a power station for nine days, it has been claimed.
And now local residents say developer HM Project Development has its sights fixed so firmly on the money it would get for that 140,000 tonnes of coal, it is blatantly disregarding their fears and concerns.
HMPD has submitted an application to Northumberland County Council to extract the coal through opencast mining over a three and half year period from Halton Lea Farm, Halton Lea Gate.
But at a public meeting last Wednesday staged by the council and attended by over 100 residents, HMPD was accused not only of disregarding local concerns, but also of putting the health of local people – particularly young children – at risk.
Protesters decried the application – which is in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – saying it was unfair for HMPD to put them through years of disruption and turmoil for a few days’ power.
Resident Nicole Hudd said: “You are going to extract coal for nine days of supplies over three and a half years!
“Planning applications should only be granted if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, but apart from the one advantage of making money for the developers, I can come up with 101 disadvantages with this scheme.”
Resident Nan White questioned the effect the opencast mining process would have on the health of residents and called into question the research conducted by environmental health expert Dr Tanja Pless-Mulloli.
In the 1990s Dr Pless-Mulloli, now professor of environ epidemiology at Newcastle University, was involved in a review of the health of children living near opencast sites.
According to her findings there was little evidence to suggest they were at an increased risk of developing respiratory illnesses.
But Mrs White claimed that this survey had since been found to be unsafe, adding: “Dr Pless-Mulloli had to admit in later years a conflict of interests; plus these results are now outdated.”
Other concerns raised included the adverse impact of opencasting on wildlife, increased volumes of traffic and the detrimental impact on the landscape, particularly as the site falls within the North Pennines AONB.
Barney Corrigan of HMPD admitted the company was interested in the scheme to make a profit, but insisted residents would benefit in the long run.
After the coal was extracted, HMPD would restore the land for equestrian use, creating woodlands, ponds and wetlands.
He added: “In terms of the site itself, at the moment it suffers instability and that would be sorted out.
“There would also be a viable business there because agriculture does not stack up as a viable business at the minute.”
Responding to criticism that HMPD had been premature in placing a recruitment advert in the Hexham Courant, he said it had simply been a means of gauging interest in jobs at the site if the scheme got the go-ahead.
He said: “It was an advertisement not for jobs but for expressions of interest locally and there have been at least 60 people who have contacted us from Haydon Bridge, Haltwhistle, and Halton Lea Gate, funnily enough.”
Northumberland County Council has already received 72 objections to the application. Currently consulting with the public and statutory bodies, the council is unlikely to determine the application much before March next year.
From the Hexham Courant
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Want to learn more about micro renewable technology or do have have experience of using small scale turbines/solar panels & want to share your knowledge?
Come along to the Star and Shadow on the 9th December for an evening of informal discussion,watch a couple of films and have some food.
As governments & their capitalist system begin to crumble we need to provide for each other and ourselves,by learning skills to make your own energy you can free yourself from those dreaded gas/elec bills that only make the rich richer.Personal energy autonomy is one of the first steps toward a cleaner, greener ,more equal world.
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
The lovely folks at the green festival have put a shout out for people to get involved in the festival this year, both the management committee and the organising group need more people to get on board.
The festival is the largest FREE environmental event in the U:K attracting up 16 000
people over the weekend.
The theme of this years fetival is 'your planet needs you- stand up to climate change'