Huntington Lane site entrance protest
On Saturday 11th December activists from across the country took action in solidarity with the Huntington Lane protest camp at New Works, Telford in Shropshire. The protest camp has been occupying the land between Site A and Site B of a proposed open cast coal mine since early March but put out a call for help in October after UK Coal started preparatory work on the southernmost part of the site. In response to this callout, people descended upon the site and successfully protested at the entrance to the mine. No arrests were made. The protest came at the end of a successful gathering at the anti-coal site which saw skill sharing, plenty of vegan food and essential work done to the camp. The action also follows on from a number of recent actions at Huntington Lane that have been disrupting the work of UK Coal, last month at a similar gathering a group of digger divers successfully brought work on the mine to a standstill after trespassing onto the mine and jumping on to the earth movers.
There has never been any community consent for the mine and even the local council were originally opposed to the idea, in fact the only reason planning permission was granted was when central government stepped in to give the go ahead. There remains strong local opposition to the mine and continued support for the camp.
The 230 acre site is near the Wrekin which is part of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is home to a scheduled ancient monument. The flora and fauna of the boroughs largest ancient woodland which is considered by some to be some of the country’s most beautiful woodland is also threatened by the surface mine. Work on the mine is also destroying local habitats and bio diversity in the area.
When finished 900,000 tons of coal will have been extracted from the mine which will result in more than 2,430,000 tonnes of CO2 being released. This is unacceptable, coal is the most carbon intensive of all the fossil fuels and coal fired power stations like the one in nearby Telford (the final destination of the Huntington Lane Coal) are the least efficient type of power station with two thirds of the energy they generate being wasted. NASA’s leading climate scientist Dr James Hanson has said “It is moral turpitude, depravity, to build more coal-fired power plants or open cast mines, knowing what we know now. It was one thing to dig coal when we didn’t know the consequences, but quite another thing today”