Greenpeace UK shuts down coal fired power station

Feature story - 8 October, 2007
Just after 5am this morning, 50 Greenpeace UK volunteers went into Kingsnorth coal fired power station. One group immobilised the huge conveyor belts carrying coal into the plant then chained themselves to the machinery. A second group is climbing up the chimney, with supplies to hold it for several days and force the power station off the national grid.

Activist at Kingsnorth coal power station.

Coal is the most polluting of all fossil fuels; it just isn't fit for purpose in the 21st century.  No new coal fired power station has been built in the UK in over 30 years but now we're worried that prime minister Gordon Brown may be giving the green light to a new coal rush.

Background on Brown, E.ON and coal

In December last year, the owner of the Kingsnorth plant, E.ON, applied to build a new coal plant that would emit as much carbon dioxide as the world's 24 lowest emitting countries combined. Worse, it could keep pumping out emissions for another 50 years. And it will only be 45 percent efficient, in an age when power stations can reach 95 percent efficiency. E.ON, the German group behind the plan for the new coal plant, is Britain's single biggest greenhouse gas polluter.

Brown's repeatedly been asked to veto the plans; he's refused. In fact, his government has convened a coal forum to "bring forward ways of strengthening the industry, and working to ensure that the UK has the right framework to secure the long-term future of coal-fired generation."

"Instead of climate wrecking coal fired power stations, Brown should be investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy and decentralised energy," said Greenpeace energy expert Robin Oakley outside the power station.  "For example, the London Array offshore wind farm will provide energy for 750,000 homes. Let's see more projects like that instead of outdated, dirty projects like Kingsnorth 2."

Update

:  Our action ended on October 10th, but Greenpeace UK hasn't let Kingsnorth off the hook since. Read all their Kingsnorth updates here.

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