Posts Tagged ‘Coal’

Taking Back the Land – report

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

A minibus full of folk from Cumbria and Lancaster went to ‘Take Back the Land’ in July 12’, here is an account of the week.

The camp aimed to bring people together for a week of action targeting coal infrastructure in the Douglas Valley. Over the weekend between 80-100 people stayed at or visited the camp. We took action against a number of targets, supported a community garden project in a near-by village and generally survived the wind, rain and midgies. Here’s an account of some of the actions that took place:

Mainshill open caset mine shut down for the day

Saturday 14th July was advertised as a mass action, and except for the eviction of the Mainshill Solidarity Camp in January 2010, was the largest action that has happened in the area. Over 45 people walked the couple of miles from the camp to Mainshill Open Cast Coal Site (formerly Mainshill Wood) and invaded the site, stopping all work for the day. The atmosphere was good, opencast workers got to have a cup of tea and constructive conversations were had. One thing’s for sure, and that’s that our common enemy is the Scottish Coal bosses.

Eventually the Chief Inspector showed up and threw his weight around making everyone leave, but by then the consented time for operations at the site was nearly over so the opencast workers left as we did. This certainly gave us confidence and energy for the week ahead

Broken cross site blockaded

This wasn’t actually the action we’d intended to do – we wanted to close down the Ravenstruther Coal Rail Terminal, a costly and effective action as most of the coal taken out of the valley has to go through this terminal. It’s an action that has happened 5 times already in the past, but that morning it was already blockaded by Strathclyde police. In the past the police have certainly done unreasonable things in the area, but for the entire week we camped at Glentaggart East the police acted as Scottish Coal’s private security guards, doing anything they could to protect the profits of the mining company.

With Ravenstruther already blockaded we turned around and went to the only entrance to Broken Cross Open Cast Coal Site, the largest mine in the area, and stopped HGVs from getting in to take the coal away to Ravenstruther (to end up down south at Drax Coal-Fired Power Station). Strangely enough the police didn’t anticipate us doing this – even though they followed us everywhere they weren’t able to stop the lock-on, but were very upset about it!

The blockade lasted for over an hour and a half before Inspector Whip, possibly the most unreasonable cop in the central belt of Scotland, oversaw around 30 Scottish Coal workers lifting the three blockaders and their concrete lock-on tubes out of the road and onto the verge, kept out of site by police vehicles parked in the way. Now, we’re pretty sure that they broke just about every rule in the(ir) book, and it was an incredibly dangerous thing to do.

Three people were eventually arrested and then released from Lanark Sheriff Court the next day, charged with a breach of the peace.

Lord Humes garden open casted

We said that the camp would target aristocrat landlords – in the past his garden has been invaded for frisbee games and he’s had car tyres let down during dinner parties – but this time his manicured lawn was dug up to bring the issues closer to home. As if the injustices in the Douglas Valley weren’t blatant enough with the corporate control, collusion between the mining company and local council, health and all the other impacts of opencast coal, most of the land in the valley is owned by a wealthy aristocrat. In fact, he’s a caricature of himself – he’s the son of former Tory prime minister Alec Home, went to Eton and Oxford University, is chairperson of Coutts Bank and of course, is a hereditary peer sitting in the house of lords. Lord Home is all about the money and will be getting millions for leasing his land to Scottish Coal for Mainshill and Glentaggart East.

Will he listen to the community though? Of course not! He really lives in London and only visits Douglasdale and his mansion to go shooting in the summer so probably isn’t even aware of what the impacts of opencast are on local people. To remind him of some of these impacts around 20 people set about with spades and shovels to dig up his lawn, making as much of a mess as possible!

Support for Community Garden

Throughout the camp we provided bodies and support for Glespin’s fledgling community garden, a community growing project aiming to inject some energy and colour back into the village. Glespin has lived next to an opencast mine for 12 years and is set to get a brand new one at Glentaggart East. At no point has the village benefited from opencast, but it has certainly suffered from noise, dust and massive HGVs speeding through the middle of it.

Key Coal Terminal Shut By Climate And Community Campaigners

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

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.


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


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.”


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.

EON and New Coal – a Google Experiment

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Power company E.ON is hoping to build the first new coal-fired power station in the UK for a generation on the site of its present station at Kingsnorth in Kent. At a time of climate crisis, it’s a crazy idea. Coal is by far the most polluting way of generating electricity – even the ‘cleaner coal’ plant will produce more CO2 than the whole of Ghana. The existing power station at Kingsnorth is now so polluting it is illegal.

They’ve been the targets of all kinds of action, from last summer’s Camp for Climate Action, to a series of smaller action on April 1st (Fossil Fools Day), to a wave of recruitment fair actions, with more action coming up at the end of this month.

One easy, comfy action can happen from this computer you’re looking at. The tactic is called  google-bombing.

The more links to a site, the higher it climbs in Google rankings. So, if enough people make the word ‘Eon‘ link to the No New Coal site, pretty soon it’ll top the list of anyone searching for Eon. (This tactic was successfully used a few years ago to make ‘swivel-eyed loons’ link to UKIP).

Two weeks ago wasn’t in the top 50 sites when searching for Eon. Now it appears on the first page of results.

So a simple online action can help us get our electronic placards in their face without getting out on the cold winter streets.

If you have a website, blog, myspace, bebo, forum account, etc then please place a link to

Ideally you write ‘eon‘ and place a hyperlink to from that text.

Anyone can do this! Blog comments/forums are easiest. Good websites are most effective.

If you’re wondering what else to write, you could copy or edit this.

To get a top 10 google ranking probably won’t be to hard, but to pip E.ON to the top will require a lot of effort so tell your friends, consider putting this simple action in your newsletters, spread the word online…


  1. It works best if you mention Eon several times in an article. The correct poncy spelling is E.ON so include that a few times too, but most people will probably just search for Eon.
  2. If you are posting the link in a blog post then put Eon in the title and the tags.
  3. The more important the site the more kick gets from the link.
  4. If you are really determined then consider setting up a fake site like the EON Corporate Social Responsibility blog that way you can link loads of times to from a site that is very relevent!
  5. Why not take this is seriously as a real world action and forward it to people with green blogs/campaign groups etc?