Early on Monday 29th October, sixteen people scaled the chimneys of the new West Burton gas-fired power station, shutting it down and halting further construction. After a seven day occupation, the campaigners abseiled 90M to the ground and were arrested – but not before capturing the attention of the entire country.
Organizers of the ‘No Dash for Gas’ direct action defended their choice to occupy the power plant:
The new ‘dash for gas’ will leave us dependent on a highly polluting and increasingly expensive fossil fuel for decades to come. It would make even our modest carbon reduction targets impossible to hit, and cause household energy bills to soar even further. While energy companies profit, our chances of a secure and sustainable future are slipping away. This action is therefore in defence of the global commons, which are under sustained attack by polluting fossil fuel companies. We are here to challenge corporate power and the rush to further ingrain an energy system that puts short term profits of the few, above the collective needs of the many.
During the seven day protest, 16 activists occupied two chimney flues at the new gas-fired power station. To travel between the flues, tehy rigged a rope that people could travel across. Ewa Jasiewicz, one of the campaigners and the last person coming down from the chimney, said:
“This was the first time activists have managed to successfully shut down a power station, and the longest occupation of a power station the UK has ever seen. We stopped 20,000 tonnes of CO2 being emitted, prevented any construction work on the site for a week and got our message about how reckless and ridiculous, let alone probably illegal, George Osborne’s proposed ‘dash for gas’ is out to thousands of people. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved – but it’s only the start of the battle for our energy future.”
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