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Protest raft sails down River Severn

01/08/2010 Leave a comment

Yesterday Sunday 31st residents from the Defend Huntington Lane Camp took their message onto the river Severn and sailed it downstream. The six person raft complete with a big “No New Coal” banner and UK Coal digger figurehead sailed down the River Severn and past EON’s Buildwas B coal fired power station which is where the coal from Huntington Lane will eventually end up. It then sailed further downstream and under the famous Iron Bridge where it was meet with cheers from a crowd of locals and tourists who had gathered on the bridge.

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Regional airports now main focus of anti-expansion campaigns

25/05/2010 Leave a comment

BAA today conceded defeat over its plans to expand Heathrow after the new government ruled out plans to expand Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. This now leaves the focus on regional airports such as Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham. Already over the past few weeks there have been a number protests against local airport expansion such as the Todays action by Plane Stupid at Manchester Airport. Earlier this month saw local students and environmental groups from across the West Midlands take part in a 10 mile protest bike ride along the A45 Coventry Road, which is now a central argument against the plans as it is set to be diverted to allow the airport to expand. This would mean Birmingham City and Solihull Councils spending £32million of public money to fund a project owned by a private company.

UK Coal announces losses of £129.1m

08/05/2010 2 comments

UK Coal had been in merger talks with Hargreaves Services but has had to put these talks on hold after reporting a loss of £129.1m for 2009. They put this down to low coal prices and low coal production in its deep mines.  The company also has debts of £236m which are greater than the actual value of the company at £177m.  A report by Minorca Opencast Protest Group shows that this is just continuing the trend of the last 8 years where the company lost over £110m. With most of its deep mines set to close by the end of the decade it will have a bigger dependency on its open-cast mines.  There are 3 open-cast mines set to open this year but it could be costly as opposition to them is proving fierce. UK Coals long-term plans are likely to be property development of their open-cast mines.

Video journalist spends night at camp

12/04/2010 Leave a comment

Shropshire star video journalist James Shaw spent a night at the Huntington Lane camp

Full report here

UK Coal responded to the article

“”The protest is not causing an issue at the moment. In terms of the argument they put, that is undermined by the fact that if we do not recover the coal from the Huntington Lane site, an equivalent amount of coal will be imported to the UK from Russia, South Africa or Indonesia, which will travel 4,000 to 5,000 miles, instead of 40 or 50 miles to generate to power we all reply on.”

The camps full rebuttal to this statement can be found here

The Huntington Lane “coal also needs to be blended with the imported stuff before it can be used. This basically translates to this being ‘extra’ coal, therefore not affecting the quantity of imported coal in any way whatsoever.”

The camp also point out that by traveling 50 miles UK Coal are in “breach of the Sustainable Communities Act – stating a maximum distance of 30 miles from source to destination.”

On top of this we would like to add that with Open Cast mining not only is the existing vegetation completely removed but it results in the destruction of wildlife and habitat, the genetic soil profile and the topographical landscape. It also leads to noise pollution and poor air quality. There have been several studies into the effects that Open Cast coal mining has on the Health of those communities living near the site an open cast  mine.

We hope to post a more detailed report on the effects of Open Cast mining and coal soon.

Coal is also the most carbon intensive fossil fuel and the UK’s largest source of CO2 emissions comes from Drax’s coal-fired power station. We believe it is important to start moving towards using more sustainable and less carbon intensive power sources and also a more sustainable way of life.

It is also important to remember that the whole community were against the coal mine, even the local council, the only reason permission was given was when central government interfered on UK Coal’s behalf.

Fossil Fools Weekend round-up

05/04/2010 Leave a comment

As part of Fossil Fools Day West Midlands Climate Action decided to support the Huntington Lane Camp against one of the UK’s biggest Fossil Fools; UK Coal, who want to mine 900,000 tonnes of coal at Huntington Lane over a three-year period. The main idea of the Fossil Fools weekend gathering was to get as many people as possible down to the camp over the four days to help with the ongoing construction of the camp. The 230-acre site near the foot of The Wrekin encompasses part of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is also home to the protected scheduled New Works Ancient Monument. The Camp was set up three weeks ago in response to UK Coal felling trees which were part of ancient woodland so they can build a haul road to link the two parts of the site together.

Huntington Lane camp

Huntington Lane Camp
A day before Fossil Fools Days saw the camp attacked during the night by three loud bangs, which it is thought came from someone either throwing fireworks or an air bomb into the camp. The camp which included young children were terrified after being woken up during the dead of night. One camper said

“It was terrifying, really terrifying. It was in the dead of night, deathly quiet, and then all of a sudden we heard these three thunderous bangs quickly one after the other.”

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