Key Coal Terminal Shut By Climate And Community Campaigners

At 6.30 last monday (5th October 2009) 10 campaigners, together with local residents and two SLACC members, peacefully blockaded Ravenstruther coal loading terminal in South Lanarkshire. Having stopped its reopening after the weekend, they prevented coal being loaded and transported. The protestors managed to shut it down and remain in place for 7 hours before being arrested.

Two protesters were locked on top of the coal conveyor belt, holding a large banner with the words “No New Coal” high over the terminal.

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Others blockaded the front gate with their bodies, arm tubes and bike locks.

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The action was aimed at disrupting the operations of Scottish Coal in the region. The protesters were acting to oppose the five open cast coal mines active in the area, and in resistance to the thirteen new open cast coal mines due to open in Scotland.

Bill Reid who is at the site said: “In the face of dangerous runaway climate change, increasing our dependence on coal – the most polluting of the fossil fuels – is simply unacceptable. We urgently need to switch to renewable energy and close existing mines. We shouldn’t even be thinking about new ones.”

The demonstration was is in support of the Lanarkshire communities who are opposing new open cast mines. Anna Mackenzie, a local resident said: “We’re here today to send a clear message that we don’t want parts of Scotland such as South Lanarkshire to become the most heavily mined areas in Europe, as they will be if permission is granted for all the new open cast coal mines currently being proposed. Direct action is not just the only avenue left open, it is also an effective on, as demonstrated by the occupation of Mainshill Wood which has been preventing an open cast mine from starting, and furthering the negative health impact open casting has been having on the people of Douglas.”

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Another protester, Helen Forbes said: “Local authorities, the Scottish government and companies like Scottish Coal and Scottish Power are ignoring the scientific evidence on climate change. We have to take responsibility for our climate and our future, and stop the coal industry and its expansion. Today at Ravenstruther we’re acting responsibly”.

With Scotland’s CO2 emissions increasing significantly, continuing the consumption of coal will make it impossible for Scotland to meet its 80% target reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. Jo Price said “The Scottish government is paying lip service to the dangers of climate change. As long as they allow companies like Scottish Coal to dig up our countryside and burn the product we won’t meet the targets.”

It is estimated that 6,380 tonnes of coal were stopped from being loaded, equivalent to 11,675,400 kg CO2 released into the atmosphere. The action stopped three coal trains from being loaded and cost Scottish Coal some £200,000.

The blockaders apologized to any workers affected by today’s demonstration, but in recognizing the desperate need to stop burning coal sees no other choice but to target the companies responsible for mining it.

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