Westside Action

a motley crew of anarchists and activists from Bristol, Bath and South Wales

Archive for October, 2009

Turning the Heat Up before Copenhagen !

…Or should that be down?


Climate Justice Activists Scale Didcot Power Station

Climate campaigners have this morning shut down N-Power’s flagship coal plant at Didcot in Oxforshire, and Shipley Open Cast Coal Mine in Derbyshire was shut down for several hours this morning.

The twenty peaceful protesters rode their push-bikes past security guards at 4.30am this morning before splitting into two groups. One team has shut down the giant coal conveyors which feed the boilers at the plant, while a second group of nine men and women has climbed the inside of the iconic 200m-high chimney and reached the top. They say they have enough food and water to stay in place for ‘weeks, not days’ – during which time the plant will be unable to operate. Already the activists in the chimney are securing the route behind them to ensure they can’t be reached by police and security guards.



Today 20 activists from Earth First! (1) stopped work at UK Coal’s opencast coal mine near Shipley (2), Derbyshire. The protesters entered the site at 9.20am and climbed on top of machinery, intending to stay as long as possible they are currently occupying 6 vehicles. This protest is part of a campaign to stop new coal mines and coal power stations in the UK. It follows hot on the heels of last week’s Climate Swoop at Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, where coal from Shipley is burnt.

Shipley is one of over 30 new coal mines recently given the go ahead as part of the government’s drive to expand opencast coal mining in the UK. This is to secure coal supply for the 6 proposed new coal power stations. The mine at Shipley alone will provide 1 million tonnes of coal over the next four years, equivalent to the release of 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Liz Cartmel, a protester at the site said “We recognise the important role coal mining has played in the local economy in the past, but at a time where our future survival hangs in the balance we need to work towards a future without climate destroying coal. Our only way out of the climate crisis is to reduce consumption and to use renewable energies such as wind and solar.”

Green Scare in the UK (part II): UPDATED

As the Climate Justice Movement becomes bigger and more of a threat, repression grows:


UPDATED SUNDAY:NOW WORKER ACTION TARGETTED UNDER TERRORIST LEGISLATION “The main contractor at Fiddler’s Ferry power station in Cheshire is seeking an injunction under the Prevention of Terrorism Act to prevent blacklisted workers from picketing the site. A hearing is pending in the Royal Courts of Justice, London, on Wednesday 21st October at 10.30am, at which a company is applying for an injunction against Steve Acheson, one of the 3 electricians in the class legal action blacklist case against companies affiliated to Ian Kerr’s Consulting Association, & also Sec. of the Unite/EPIU Manchester Contracting Branch: this is an injunction sought by the company (main contractor) at Fiddlers Ferry. This injunction is being brought under the Prevention of Terrorism Act & seeks to show that Steve, as the 1st respondent, & others unnamed [as second respondents], by their constant picketing of the site represent “a threat to the energy supplies of this country”. Because this application is being brought under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, Steve will not be able to defend himself at this hearing, as we understand it. The basis of the application is that by picketing the site he is committing a Trespass because he & others are on the Firm’s property; that having issued leaflets to workers on the site calling for ‘direct action’ he is ‘inciting’ the workforce to commit acts contrary to the national interest which may impact on energy supplies & that he has, at times, acted in a way that might have intimidated the workforce. There is no mention in the company’s deposition to the Court that he was formerly employed by them, nor that his picket represents a campaign against blacklisting. One senior trade union leader in the RMT has already said that if this goes ahead it will have consequences for the whole trade union movement.”


Too tired to write seperate article but one additional quote from the coppers who interviewed us: “95% of people we stop under this legislation aren’t terrorists”. This shouldn’t make people afraid of travellling to Copenhagen – or any other international mobilisation – but any travel plans should take this into consideration.

The Next Bristol- Copenhagen Mobilisation meeting is: Monday 26th October, Kebele, 14 Robertson rd, Bristol. BS5 6JY at 7pm

UK border police (Kent Constabulary) used anti-terrorist legislation to prevent 4 British climate change activists (including a westsider) from crossing over into mainland Europe where he planned to take part in events surrounding the forthcoming United Nations summit in Denmark.

Chris Kitchen, a 31-year-old office worker, said he feared his treatment by police could mark the start of a clampdown on protesters, hundreds of whom are planning to travel to Copenhagen for the climate change talks in December.

Tonight he will make a second attempt to reach Denmark, where he plans to take part in discussions organised by a network of protest groups coming together under the banner Climate Justice Action.

He said he was prevented from crossing the border yesterday at about 5pm, when the coach he was travelling on stopped at the Folkestone terminal of the Channel tunnel.

Jack Sheppard adds:

“On our second try to get to Copenhagen we we’re reminded that we were relatively lucky, when 2 “Sans Papiers” were removed from our coach at 3.00am – probably to a German Detention Centre”

Kitchen said police officers boarded the coach and, after checking all passengers’ passports, took him and another climate activist to be interviewed under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, a clause which enables border officials to stop and search individuals to determine if they are connected to terrorism.

The passports were not initially scanned, Kitchen said, suggesting the officials knew his name and had planned to remove him from the coach before they boarded. During his interview, he was asked questions about his family, work and past political activity. The police also asked him what he intended to do in Copenhagen.

When Kitchen said that anti-terrorist legislation does not apply to environmental activists, he said the officer replied that terrorism “could mean a lot of things”. By the time his 30-minute interview had concluded, Kitchen’s coach had gone.

Police are understood to be monitoring protesters on a number of databases, some of which highlight individuals when they pass through secure areas, such as ports.

Kitchen is a prominent activist who has taken place in a number of peaceful acts of civil disobedience, such as glueing himself to a statue in parliament, to call for more action to cut carbon emissions.

“The use of anti-terrorist legislation like this is another example of political policing, of the government harassing and intimidating people practising their hard earned democratic rights,” he said. “We are going to Copenhagen to take part in Climate Justice Action because we want to protest against false solutions like carbon trading and to build a global movement for effective, socially just solutions.

“People who are practising civil disobedience on climate change in the face of ineffectual government action are certainly not terrorists, and I am sure that their actions will be vindicated by history.”

Kitchen said police paid for a ticket for him to return to London after questioning and arranged for the coach company to give him a seat on another coach.

A Home Office spokesman said: “There has been no change in policy. Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 enables an examining officer to stop, search and examine a person at a port or in a border area to determine whether they are someone who is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

“The exercise of the powers by the police is an operational matter for each force.”

Jack Sheppard adds: “The fact that legislation allows people to be detained, delayed -and forced to answer questions (under the legislation “no comment” is an offence), have there mobile phones confiscated and presumably empited of all there numbers, texts etc without even reasonable grounds for suspicion that we were going commit terrorist offences – the interviewing police officers made it clear that we weren’t suspected of being terrorists,or or were ever likely to commit them in the future is clearly a piss take.”

Swoop Arrests:

Climate activists including members of campaigning groups Climate Camp and Plane Stupid have pledged to shut down the Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal power station run by German energy giant E.ON. The arrests follow an injunction taken out by E.ON against protesters that will allow police to arrest anyone who enters the plant’s grounds. A large police and private security presence is expected at the site, which has upped its security measures, including the erection of a new electric fence.

The campaigner charged yesterday has been released and bailed to return to a police station on Saturday, when the power station protests are due to take place. On Tuesday this week, 31-year-old office worker Chris Kitchen was prevented from travelling to Copenhagen to take part in events around the UN climate talks this December. Three other activists are now understood to have been detained and searched this week while attempting to travel to Copenhagen, though they have subsequently completed their journeys.

Activists for Plane Stupid also claimed they were phoned yesterday by Nottinghamshire police and told “they would be arrested” if they came to Ratcliffe-on-Soar. Tracy Singh from Plane Stupid said “the police are acting like hoodlums. We are absolutely disgusted.” A press spokesperson for Nottinghamshire police said it would be facilitating lawful protest around the power station and denied activists would be arrested simply by coming to the site.

Richard Bernard, a spokesperson for Climate Camp, added: “They’re threatening and arresting people for just thinking and talking about taking meaningful action. This is clear intimidation — they’re just trying to scare us. But what’s really scary is climate change, and that’s why we’re going to take control of Ratcliffe on Saturday.”

E.ON has responded to the planned protest by placing a series of videos on its YouTube channel with comments from its press team, the power station manager and protestors.

A spokeswoman for E.ON, said: “We respect the right of people to have their say as long as it’s peaceful and lawful. [The planned action] is incredibly dangerous and irresponsible. What I would say is by all means come, but don’t try to break into the power station.”

Activists have been sharing satellite maps and photos of the power station online, which they plan to travel to by train and bus. The Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station emits 12.8m tonnes of CO2 a year and is Britain’s third largest source of direct greenhouse gas emissions. E.ON says it is one of the UK’s most efficient coal power stations.

In April this year, 114 people were arrested at a Nottingham school on suspicion of planning a direct action on the power station. At least 25 of the activsts have been subsequently charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass, a charge which places restrictions on communications with friends and family and potentially carries a sentence of six months.

E.ON has also been the subject of an ongoing campaign by climate activists for its plans to build a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent. Last week the company said Kingsnorth had been postponed because of the global recession, an annoucement that campaigners viewed as a victory for the climate movement.