News24

Greens dangle from coal ship

2009-06-22 19:02

London - Police arrested six environmental activists who tried to stop a shipment of coal to the Kingsnorth power station near London on Monday, while four protesters remained tied to the vessel's mast, the police said.

Members of Greenpeace, campaigning over climate change, boarded the freighter in the early hours of Monday in an attempt to stop the fuel being unloaded at the power station in Kent, where the owners plan to build Britain's first coal fired power plant in decades.

"There are four of us still here at the top of the mast at the front of the ship," Greenpeace volunteer Sarah Shoraka said, while dangling off the freighter with climbing equipment on Monday afternoon.

Criminal damage

"We are going to stay here as long as we can. We have enough food and water for several days".

Kent Police said in a statement that six people had been held on charges of conspiring to commit criminal damage and unauthorised boarding of a ship.

A police spokesperson said officers were on board the ship.

For safety reasons Kent police have asked the owners not to try to unload the 20 000 ton cargo while the protesters were on board.

About 900 000 tons of coal is stored at the power station, which was running at only 25% of total capacity on Monday, so there was little chance of the plant stopping production as a result of the protest.

Climate campaigners


The government said in April it would allow coal plants to be built only if new technology to trap and bury climate warming gases, produced when burning coal, is fitted to part of the plant.

The German-owned utility has said it would fit carbon capture and storage (CCS) to one quarter of the planned 1 600-megawatt Kingsnorth plant by 2019 if it gets permission to build.

But climate campaigners argue the proposed plant would still pump three-quarters of its emissions into the atmosphere.

Nine activists from pressure group Plane Stupid and Action Against Agrofuels were also arrested on Monday after gate-crashing Virgin Atlantic's 25th birthday party at Heathrow airport, Plane Stupid said.

They were protesting against allowing the aviation industry to continue to expand using biofuels instead of jet fuel.

Virgin said on Monday it had ordered another 10 aircraft to continue its expansion.