Climate campaigners have this morning 26 0ct 2009 shut down N-Power’s flagship coal plant at Didcot in Oxforshire.

“Protestors at didcot power station in oxfordshire have blocked the coal conveyors and have scaled the chimney. if by blocking the conveyors they manage to get the plant turned off, they’re going to abseil down inside the chimney. ETA: I’m so pleased to see a couple of things. First it was an action planned in secret, so it stood a chance of working. I’m not totally opposed to the mass public direct action model of the climate camp / swoop etc., but it only really makes sense as a practice / training exercise. also, thank god this isn’t an E.on station. climate change is bigger than E.on so, no cups of tea today, or you might switch off a hospital by accident” (urban 75)

I agree with much of what is said here, might have disagrement on Climate Change? but for a an action what a good one yes opposed to the mass public direct action model of the climate camp / swoop etc more of this and it might just get those who are rapeing Mother Earth for profit not need think more about there actions, PROTESTORS have stopped work at a Derbyshire coal mine.

The Twitter feed is here and a first inside report is here this time round well done to all involved

Didcot Power Station: Activists invade power station

Didcot Power Station: A spokeswoman for RWE npower said power generation at the station has not yet been affected.

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.

The huge coal plant in Oxfordshire is owned and operated by German utility company N-Power, which is building new coal plants across Europe and wants to build the first new coal-fired power stations in Britain in 30 years.

A small amount of coal was in the boilers as the invasion occurred. That will last for several hours, after which the protesters will scale the flues at the very top of the chimney (which would normally emit 1000 tonnes of CO2 an hour) and abseil into them, with some of the activists then living inside the chimney for the duration of their occupation. Activists will remain in the flues until their food and water runs out, preventing the station from re-opening.

“We’re a bunch of ordinary people who met at the Climate Camp this summer and were inspired to actually do something about climate change,” said Amy Johnson, 20, one of the protesters at the summit of the huge 200m chimney. “We rode our bikes into the power station this morning and now we’re on the top of the chimney. To be honest we’re quite surprised at how easy it all was. I didn’t quite expect to be here.”

She continued:

“Since E-ON shelved their plans to build a new coal plant at Kingsnorth this month, we realised N-Power is the new frontline. They haven’t dropped their plans to build the dirtiest new power stations in Britain for thirty years, and they’re constructing new coal plants right across Europe. We’re going to stay here until they say they’ll stop building new coal plants. We know that might take a while but we’re patient and we’ve got plenty of supplies to stay up here. We’re talking weeks, not days.

Amy Johnson added:

“We decided the most powerful place we could set up a Climate Camp would be at the top of N-Power’s most iconic chimney, and that’s what we’ve done. I’d be a liar if said I wasn’t scared climbing up this smokestack, but climate change scares me a lot more. We’ve got people locked on to the coal conveyors and people are going over the top and inside the actual chimney. There’s no way we can be reached, we’re in control of this power plant and we’re not moving any time soon.”

Didcot power plant
Didcot coal-fired power station.

The protesters researched today’s action carefully, putting the safety of N-Power staff and the activists first. The climbers preparing to abseil into the chimney are fully trained and highly experienced. The activists only shut down Didcot after confirming that their actions would not cause power cuts – there is always slack in the National Grid to cope with generating outages, forced or otherwise. If there is a displacement of emissions from coal to gas (or no generation) it will reduce net CO2 emissions in the course of the occupation by tens of thousands of tonnes.

Amy Johnson said:

“In every country CO2 emissions are linked to economic growth, so in countries like the UK our insatiable hunger for more and more products and consumer goods is driving climate change. The world’s finite resources need to be shared more fairly, and the richest countries which got us into this mess need to take the lead in reducing emissions. We’re on this chimney to demand climate justice as the world prepares to meet in Copenhagen. We’re defending human life and people’s property around the world that’s in immediate need of protection from the ravages of rising temperatures.”

While N-Power claims that new coal is necessary to ‘keep the lights on’, in reality its push for new coal plants at Tilbury and Hunterston is motivated by profit, with coal-burning being cheaper than other fuels despite its enormous climate impact. Consultants at Poyry – Europe’s leading independent energy experts – found that Britain could easily meet its energy demands without resorting to new coal as long as the country hits its renewable and energy efficiency targets.

Why coal, why Didcot?

* The single greatest threat to the climate comes from burning coal. Coal-fired generation is historically responsible for most of the fossil-fuel CO2 in the air today, about half of all fossil-fuel carbon dioxide emissions globally.

* Coal-fired power generation is the most environmentally damaging means of generating electricity yet devised. In fact, in carbon terms, coal is the dirtiest fuel known to man.

* Ed Miliband recently announced plans to allow the construction of four new coal plants that would emit about 80% of their emissions into the atmosphere. That would make them the most carbon-polluting new coal plants built in Britain for 30 years. N-Power is behind 2 possible plants, at Tilbury and Hunterston

* As we close old coal-fired and nuclear power stations in the next decade we will lose capacity currently providing around a quarter of our electricity output. But Gordon Brown recently committed to targets which will require us to generate about 35-40% of our electricity from renewables alone by 2020, and the UK also has fairly ambitious energy efficiency targets. According to Europe’s leading independent energy experts, Poyry, if the UK was to hit these existing renewables and efficiency targets, there will be no ‘energy gap.’ We can keep the lights on and cut emissions, and in the long run bring down fuel bills too – all without new coal-fired plants like Kingsnorth.

* The world’s most respected climate scientist, Dr. Jim Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is so concerned about plans for new coal plants in Britain that he took the unprecedented step of writing to the Prime Minister to say that with the decision over whether or not to allow Kingsnorth, Brown has the potential to influence “the future of the planet”

* Coal-fired power generation really is an outdated technology for a 21st century, climate changing world. Even today, Britain’s centralised, inefficient coal-fired power stations waste over two-thirds of the energy they generate. The proposed new coal plant at Kingsnorth, although more efficient than the old one, would still use old-style conventional technology that would waste (as heat) over half of all the energy the power station creates. Compare that with the state-of-the-art power plants they use in Scandinavia which run at up to 94% efficiency.

* Burning coal in the UK has already halted the decline in emissions seen in the 1990s following the ‘dash for gas’ and has undermined progress from other sectors in cutting emissions. Since Labour came to power, carbon dioxide emissions have actually increased and this can be attributed in large part due to ‘the roll to coal’ as well as increased aviation emissions.

* Dr. Jim Hansen, one of the first climate scientists to warn of global warming, says: “The only practical way to prevent CO2 levels from going far into the dangerous range, with disastrous effects for humanity and other inhabitants of the planet, is to phase out use of coal except at power plants where the CO2 is captured and sequestered.”

* Equally, Sir Martin Rees, President of the prestigious Royal Society, wrote to the Government saying, “Allowing any new coal-fired power station, such as Kingsnorth, to go ahead without a clear strategy and incentives for the development and deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology would send the wrong message about the UK’s commitment to address climate change, both globally and to the energy sector.”

“I therefore suggest that the government only gives consent to any new coal- fired power station, such as Kingsnorth, on condition that the operating permits are withdrawn if the plant fails to capture 90% of its carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. This would send a clear policy signal to industry of the need to develop and deploy CCS as quickly as possible.”

A photo of Didcot power station

* Lord Adair Turner’s inaugural report from the Committee on Climate Change sets out that achieving an 80% domestic reduction in emissions by 2050 means the decarbonisation of the UK power sector must start now and continue through the 2020s, so that we can secure the “almost total decarbonisation of electricity generation by 2030”.

First interview with activist inside coal power station — New Internationalist Blog

This morning, 22 activists occupied Didcot coal power station – the carbon belching monster just down the road from the NI Oxford office. Word has only just started trickling out, but I managed to have a quick phone chat with Amy Johnson, one of the protesters.

‘Where are you?’ I asked. ‘I’m on the upper-most inside level of Didcot’s chimney’ she replied. ‘There are 9 of us climbing the chimney, and 13 people locked to the coal conveyor belt.’

‘How did you get in?’

‘At 4am, we cycled to the power station, cycled around the barrier and just got in!’ There was a bit of a confrontation with security guards, but they didn’t follow them up the chimney. They are now busy barricading themselves in, hanging banners, and starting to answer media calls. They have supplies for the rest of the week.

So: why exactly are they doing this?

‘Well, we just had a massive victory – E.ON announced they probably weren’t going to build Kingsnorth. That means that N-Power, the company that runs this power station, is now the foremost advocate for new coal in the country. They want to build 30 new coal power stations in Britain and Europe. They expect to get planning permission for Hunterston in the next few weeks. We’re saying to them that we won’t leave until they cancel all their plans for new coal.’

But this isn’t just about UK politics. Their banner reads ‘Climate Justice’ and, as we hurtle towards the Copenhagen climate summit, ‘our message is aimed at the whole world,’ says Amy: ‘Coal cannot be the future.’

Are they affiliated with any particular organisation? ‘Not really. We’re a group of people who met at climate camp in London this summer. We learnt about the threat of coal, and were able to attend training sessions run by really experienced activists who gave us the skills and inspiration to do this.’

This is the latest – and most audacious – of a spate of recent direct actions against coal power in the UK. Now all eyes are on N-Power to see how they react…


Didcot A Power Station is a coal and gas fired power station, designed by architect Frederick Gibberd. A vote was held in Didcot and surrounding villages on whether the power station should be built. There was strong opposition from Sutton Courtenay but the yes vote was carried, due to the number of jobs that would be created in the area. Building was started on the 2,000 MWe power station for the CEGB during 1964, and was completed in 1968 at a cost of £104m, with up to 2400 workers being employed at peak times. It is located on a 300acres (1.2km2) site formerly part of the Ministry of Defence Central Ordnance Depot. The main chimney is 650ft (200m) tall with the six cooling towers 325ft (99m) each. The station uses four 500MWe generating units. In 2003 Didcot A burnt 3.7Mt of coal.

The station burns mostly pulverised coal, but also co-fires with natural gas. Didcot was the first large power station to be converted to have this function. In addition, a small amount of biomass, such as sawdust, is now burnt at the plant. This was introduced to try to depend more on renewable sources following the introduction of the Kyoto Protocol and, in April 2002, the Renewables Obligation. It is hoped that biomass could replace 2% of coal burnt. In 1996 and 1997, Thales UK was awarded contracts by Innogy (now npower) to implement the APMS supervisory and control system on all of the four units, then allowing to have optimised emissions monitoring and reporting.

Some ash from Didcot A is used to manufacture building blocks at a factory on the adjacent Milton Parkand transported to Thacham near Newbury Berkshire for the manufacture of Thermalite aerated breeze blocks using both decabonized fly and raw ash but most is mixed with water and pumped via a pipeline to former quarries in Radley.

Environmental protests

On the morning of Thursday 2 November 2006, 30 Greenpeace volunteers invaded the power station. One group chained themselves to a broken coal-carrying conveyor belt. A second group scaled the 200 metre high chimney, and set up a ‘climate camp’. They proceeded to paint “Blair’s Legacy” on the side of the chimney overlooking the town. Greenpeace claim Didcot Power Station is the second most polluting in Britain after Drax in Yorkshire, whilst Friends of the Earth describe it as the ninth worst in the UK.

Didcot Shutdown by Greenpeace UKDidcot Shutdown by Greenpeace UKDidcot Shutdown by Greenpeace UKDidcot Shutdown by Greenpeace UK
Didcot GV by Greenpeace UKBrewing up the tea - Didcot Power Station by Greenpeace UKSunset from Didcot by Greenpeace UKDidcot_Outside_59 by Greenpeace UK
Didcot by Greenpeace UKDidcot by Greenpeace UKDidcot by Greenpeace UKDidcot by Greenpeace UK
Didcot by Greenpeace UKDidcot by Greenpeace UKDidcot by Greenpeace UKDidcot_Outside_21 by Greenpeace UK
Didcot_Outside_18 by Greenpeace UKDidcot_Outside_16 by Greenpeace UKDidcot_Outside_07 by Greenpeace UKDidcot_Outside_01 by Greenpeace UK
Smoke Stack at Didcot power station, Oxfordshire, shut down by Greenpeace activists by Greenpeace UKSmoke Stack at Didcot power station, Oxfordshire, shut down by Greenpeace activists by Greenpeace UKDidcot power station, Oxfordshire, shut down by Greenpeace activists by Greenpeace UK Didcot power station, Oxfordshire, shut down by Greenpeace activists by Greenpeace UK

Occupation of Didcot Power Station, Oxfordshire, UK, 2nd November 2006

Didcot A has opted out of the Large Combustion Plants Directive which means it will only be allowed to run for up to 20,000 hours after 1 January 2008 and must close by 31 December 2015. However, due to the amount of running hours the station is currently using, it will more than likely close before then.

Climate campaigners shut down one of UK's biggest power stations

Climate campaigners shut down one of UK’s biggest power stations

Greenpeace sets up ‘climate camp’ on top of 200 metre chimney

One of Britain’s dirtiest power stations has been shut down by climate change campaigners.

Thirty Greenpeace volunteers invaded the Didcot coal-fired power station at 5:30am this morning, 2/11/2006. They have immobilised the huge conveyor belts that carry coal into the plant by hitting emergency stop buttons and attaching themselves to machinery. A second group is climbing the 200 metre high chimney, and will set up a climate camp at the top.

The Didcot site is the second most polluting power station in Britain[1], behind Drax in Yorkshire. The Oxfordshire facility was targeted because – like most of the Britain’s power stations – two-thirds of the energy it generates is wasted, making a massive contribution to climate change. The campaigners are demanding that the Government phases out these kind of coal fired power stations and instead backs localised – or “decentralised” – power generation, which is much more efficient.

The occupation comes in the week Sir Nicholas Stern released his ground-breaking study, warning of a global catastrophe if carbon emissions are not slashed. On Monday Tony Blair said: “This disaster is not set to happen in some science fiction future many years ahead, but in our lifetime.” Meanwhile his government continues to allow inefficient power stations like Didcot to dominate the UK’s electricity industry.

Most British power stations waste two-thirds of the energy they generate in the form of heat escaping up their cooling towers. By locating smaller generators close to where energy is used, the heat created in power stations can be captured and used to heat our homes. So-called “decentralised energy” is already working in many European countries and powering cities like Copenhagen and Malmo. Along with a range of renewable energy technologies it is the key to modernising the electricity industry and slashing its massive contribution to global climate change. Woking Council has reduced its carbon footprint by 77% by employing decentralised technologies.

Greenpeace campaigns director Blake Lee-Harwood, who is part of the team that shut Didcot’s conveyor belt, said: “Power stations like this are energy dinosaurs. This one power station emits over six millions tonnes of CO2 a year, that’s more than the 29 lowest polluting countries put together. And, shockingly, Didcot could halve its emissions overnight if it switched from burning coal to gas.”

Greenpeace protest, Didcot Power Station Oxfordshire UK by danhuby.

Didcot power station is the second most polluting power station in the UK, after Drax in east Yorkshire. On November the 2nd 2006 a group of Greenpeace protesters gained access and painted “Blair’s Legacy” on the large tower, and also chained themselves to the coal chutes in an attempt to shut down the power station.

They was not asking you to save the rainforest within 24 hours. Instead they was asking that you save a couple of ex-quarry pit lakes in Oxford for the locals. Npower wants to fill them with pulverised fuel ash from their Didcot coal fired power station nearby.

Npower really have been unreasonable on this and have even used court orders and security guards to stop local people visiting the lakes. It’s ‘big business’ way out of control. More on the campaign;

What is urban exploration then aka urban archaeology

Urban Exploration is discovering what lays in our derelict society behind those closed doors and tucked away areas of our towns, cities and countryside. You can find military ruins and bunkers from the World War II and the cold war, abandoned mental asylums and derelict industries, an absance of the current order.

These places are unlikely to be seen by the everyday public and as redevelopment occurs these places will be lost forever, taking their history and secrets with them. Ignorant people stereotype “Urban Explorers” as young teenage males with nothing better to do than “break into buildings”. They couldnt be more wrong

Urban Exploration is simply the idea i can enter that secret world and never return; or, better, that we could burn away this one, to reveal the one beneath entirely

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One response to “Climate campaigners have this morning 26 0ct 2009 shut down N-Power’s flagship coal plant at Didcot in Oxforshire.

  1. Pingback: It is of course more about Class than Climate All this and a pirate ship. « project-sheffield

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