Friday, 19 February 2010

Help Communities Opposing Bradley Open Cast

no-bulldozerThis years Earth First! Winter Moot was held in Dipton Community Centre, which looks over the proposed site for an open-cast at Bradley, in County Durham. Members of the local campaign against the mine have asked their supporters to write in their objection to the development.

UK Coal’s application is expected to be heard by the planning officials or Durham Council in the near future. The local campaign would appreciate it if people would write in letters of objection to the following address, stating the Application No. CMA/1/37

Mrs C.L.Teasdale
Plannng Development Control Team
Regeneration and Economic Development
Durham County Council

The facts about this proposed mine:

  • UK Coal has applied to surface mine 556,000 tonnes of coal from a coal seem covering 22,000 acres.
  • The current version of the application is has not yet gone to the Planning Authority.
  • The application is being resisted by The Pont Valley Network
  • If the application goes ahead the residents are particularly concerned about the loss of their heritage sites.
  • The final destination for the coal is either the steel industry or a power station generating electricity.
  • Burning this coal will release over 2 million tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere.
  • UK coal say the mine will create 38 jobs. Mr Cory of UK Coal says that there will be no new jobs but people will be transferred to this site.
  • The mine will need 3 lorry trips per hour, each way.
  • UK coal and other surface mining companies have applications at the planning stages for a further 13 mines in the area and a further 5 have been granted in the area.
  • The nearest planned site also currently at the planning stages is Skons Park, which Hall construction are applying to extract half a million tonnes of coal fire clay. This application was last refused in 2007 but Halls have since reapplied this year.

The Bradley site is 10 miles south of Newcastle in a beautiful area. The proposed site can be seen from Newcastle and Cheviot on a clear day. A mine would scar the landscape; cause habitat destruction which would affect many species, including Great Crested Newts and Red Kites; contribute to catastrophic climate change; increase traffic locally and destroy the remains of wagon-ways and bell pit and shaft mines in the area. Residents are also concerned that if the mine is given the go ahead then they will see further extensions applied for and granted.

For more information about the site and to add strength to letters of objection please see and the No Opencast Today or Tomorrow (NOTT) campaign

Monday, 15 February 2010

British Airways Scab Union Exposed

British Airways cabin crew have exposed the "Professional Cabin Crew Council" (PCCC) as a scab union.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Where Next after Copenhagen?

System Change not Climate Change
Copenhagen looks like it's going to be remembered for two things: one, exposing the COP process of "climate talks" for what they really are - the WTO under another guise, trying to push forward the neoliberal agenda of free trade, privatisation and slashing public spending, whatever the cost to the people and the planet.
But while they were busy drawing up licences to pollute, privatising the air, buying up the rainforests and reaffirming their addiction to fossil fuels, in the streets an exciting shift was taking place as an environmental movement turned into a movement for social justice, led by the powerful social movements of the Global South. This looks like it could be the moment where movements against climate change, war, attacks on workers' terms and conditions and attacks on the public sector all begin to come together to fight the common enemy - but it depends on what we all do now.
Films on the Copenhagen mobilisations including the enormous Saturday demo; delegations from movements in the Global South; La Via Campesina protests, agribusiness and food sovereignty; tar sands, peak oil and energy sovereignty; and the joint CJA/CJN "Reclaim Power" action, the people's assembly, green jobs and building a mass movement.
PLUS The Fujitsu strike, and whatever key workers struggles have happened by then - there's a lot of potential candidates! We'll be taking collections for strike funds.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Newcastle Papua Solidarity

SMD; of Hadrian Road, Newcastle; are completing a £33m contract to build two seafloor mining systems comprising two Seafloor Mining Tools (SMT) , umbilical systems, surface power and control systems and a single deck handling system. The contract is worth in excess of £30 million, making it one of SMD’s largest, and will run until early 2010. They are for the world's first project to mine seafloor copper, zinc gold and silver. This is the removal of the chimneys of hydrothermal vents in 1,500 meters of water in Papua New Guinea.

Mining Monitor
To be clear, SMS deposits is a synonymous term for black smoker hydrothermal vents. The goal of the company is to extract the chimneys, rich in valuable minerals, from hydrothermal vents.
... The obvious first question is whether Nautilus will operate in a more environmentally cautious manner than its shareholders or former company historically has.
... Craig Cary, a marine biologist at the University of Delaware in Newark, says the prospect is unthinkable because of the potential effects on marine life. “If I was in charge of reviewing permit requests there would be some serious questions to answer. Metal sulphides are nasty substances – how are they going to deal with that?” In Science Magazine’s Policy Forum, Jochen Halfar and Rod Fujita (Environmental Defense) wrote on the “Danger of Deep-sea Mining”. They cite sediment plumes, nutrient loads to oligotrophic surface waters, and toxic effects to the water column among their primary concerns. The Australia-based Mineral Policy Institute noted “There is little or no independent oversight of companies’ activities. Exploration activity… is not subject to appropriate regulation and control. This is a grave issue in this case as the areas targeted by these companies coincide with what has been identified as biodiversity hotspots in the region.”

The vents are 50 km north of Rabaul township, where the the Bougainville environmental revolutionaries negotiated their victory in the Organic Law for Autonomy. The people of Bougainville are one of the few groups of indigenous people to have shut down a mine owned by one of the mining giants of the world. Throughout the South Pacific, and indeed the world, this mineral-rich island with a population of only 160,000 has inspired those struggling for freedom and self-determination. Refusing to be bought off with paltry compensation offers, Bougainvilleans have often paid with their lives to defend their land, culture, environment and freedom.

SMD awarded contract for seafloor mining tools

Nautilus subsea mining system

Inflexion acquires subsea vehicle specialist SMD