Under the cover of darkness activists secured themselves in the Prospect Farm building, on the site which is about to be devastated by huge machines. Food and supplies have been taken in for a long term occupation and barricades' have been set up preventing police form bringing in specialist equipment down Bell Lane, Smalley Derbyshire into the heart of the site. Similarly, people are locked on by their necks behind the doors preventing force being used to gain entry. The protesters have claimed squatter's rights.
At Lodge House today, Andy Green said "We are here because the single greatest threat to the climate comes from burning coal. Coal fired generation is historically responsible for most of the CO2 in the air today - about half of all carbon dioxide emissions globally. Coal form open cast mines is dirtier than that from deep mines, so it is even worse!"
Lodge house is owned by UK Coal, Britain's largest coal company who plan to extract one million tonnes of coal from the 122 hector site. Protestors claim this will devastate the area. Local councils, residents and local environmental groups have all objected to the plans, however, the Environment Secretary Hilary Benn granted planning permission in 2007 and work is set to commence imminently.
New open cast mines are being actively supported by the government and the number of opencast mines going into the planning process and being approved is on the increase.
The Leave it in the Ground, is part of the Network for Climate Action (2) and its allies, has seen over a dozen actions take place around the UK including the occupation of a coal train heading for Drax power station. Protests have focused on the companies responsible for runaway carbon dioxide emissions, as well as those promoting false solutions to climate change.
"We are taking action to prevent the coal industry bent on economic growth from destroying our future," said Julie Lee from Leave it in the Ground. "If Gordon Brown gives the go ahead to a new generation of coal fired power stations beginning with Kingsnorth in Kent, it will undermine - perhaps fatally - Britain's chances of meeting its climate change targets. If Britain is to cut its emissions by 80% by 2050, the eight planned new coal power-fired plants alone will wipe out half of our carbon budget."
A further demonstration is planned for 14th July at UK Coal's Head quarters in Doncaster.
1. UK coal's headquarters is situated at Harworth Park, Blyth Road, Harworth, Doncaster DN11 8DB.
2. To combat open-cast mining, a new action group "Leave it in the Ground" has formed, supported by Earth First! As well as other environmental groups.
3. UK coal has submitted planning applications for 5 new sites:
(Site and Potential Tonnage)
Potland Burn, Northumberland 2,000,000 tonnes
Park Wall North, Co. Durham 1,275,000 tonnes
Bradley, Co. Durham 550,000 tonnes
Huntington Lane, Shropshire 900,000 tonnes
Blair House, Fife 700,000 tonnes
It is proposed that the 122 hectare site will produce one million tonnes of coal over five years, after which the land will be 'returned back to its natural state'. However, UK Coal will not be able to replace ancient edges and mature trees, and their licence enables the company to expand beyond the 122 hectares without needing further permission.
Coal is the dirtiest form of power generation known to man. Top NASA scientist James Hansen recently remarked: "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."