Kingsnorth stand-off ends

Last edited 22 June 2009 at 6:51pm
22 June, 2009

A dramatic stand-off at Kingsnorth power station in Kent has ended after four Greenpeace campaigners, who boarded a coal freighter bound for the power station last night, came down from the foremast after being served with an injunction.

Greenpeace volunteers intercepted the freighter using rigid inflatable speedboats just after midnight this morning. As the ship sped towards Kingsnorth the campaigners attached climbing ladders to the vessel and scaled the 15 metre hull.

Sarah Shoraka, speaking just before leaving the freighter, said: "We climbed onto this ship, and stayed onboard throughout the night and all day, because coal is the most climate-damaging fuel known to man. If we keep burning coal, we can't beat climate change.

"But Ed Miliband's new policies would still allow Eon to build the dirtiest new power station in Britain for thirty years."

Land next to the existing plant at Kingsnorth has been earmarked for the construction of the first new coal-fired power station in Britain for 30 years. The highly controversial plans have sparked a series of protests, but this is the first time a coal shipment to the site has been blocked and boarded. The Government claims a new Kingsnorth plant will be cleaner, but in reality under the new policy, announced in April, it would still pump three-quarters of its emissions into the atmosphere for years to come - six million tonnes of CO2 every year.

The Greenpeace members who were on board the ship say by stopping the coal cargo being burned they were protecting people and property around the world from the devastating effects of climate change.

UK decisions on coal have an international impact. This year's international meetings on climate change, designed to prepare the groundwork for the summit in Copenhagen this December, have been uniformly unproductive, and the success of the Copenhagen talks is now highly uncertain. Brown will need to do everything in his power to give the UK and EU negotiating positions political and scientific credibility, both with his policies and his presence, if there is to be a chance of a meaningful agreement.

The G8 meeting in Italy on the July 8th provides a key opportunity to go into Copenhagen with some progress having been made. Greenpeace urges the Prime Minister to seize this opportunity to show some leadership and rescue his legacy.

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