Mass occupation in climate protest against gas power

Greater London – Following the UK’s hottest July day on record [1], a hundred people occupied a site overlooking energy company Drax’s Rye House power station in the early hours of this morning in protest against Drax’s plans for the country’s largest ever gas-fired power station. Hundreds more are expected to join the six-day camp which will include direct action events on Monday and Tuesday.

 

A decision on Drax’s new gas plant in Yorkshire, which would be responsible for as much as 75% of the emissions budget for the entire UK power sector [2], will be a major early decision for new Minister for Business, Environment and Industrial Strategy Andrea Leadsom. In June, Leadsom said one of her priorities if elected Prime Minister would be to declare a “climate emergency” [3].

 

A Reclaim the Power spokesperson said:

 

“If this week’s boiling temperatures tell us anything, it is that we must stop burning fossil fuels. Drax’s plan to build the UK’s biggest ever gas power station will only push temperatures even higher, here and for communities least responsible but hardest hit by the climate crisis.”

 

“A government genuinely committed to tackling the climate crisis would immediately reject this plan to lock us into fossil fuels for decades to come. We need to ditch Drax, and create a democratic energy system based on renewables, that works for people not corporate profit.”

 

Public concern about the climate crisis in the UK is at its highest level in 10 years [4]. Meanwhile research shows we can complete the transition to zero carbon energy from coal-fired power using renewables and other sources, without a large-scale increase in gas power [5].

 

The camp, located near RSPB Rye Meads nature reserve, is also targeting the ‘hostile environment’ for migrants – a controversial policy backed by new Home Secretary Priti Patel – and will include a demonstration in London on Monday.

  1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-49106092
  2. https://www.clientearth.org/lawyers-reveal-massive-climate-impact-of-new-drax-gas-plant/
  3. https://www.desmog.co.uk/andrea-leadsom
  4. https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-rolls-reveal-surge-in-concern-in-uk-about-climate-change
  5. https://sandbag.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Coal-To-Clean-May-2018.pdf
  6. Drax itself has admitted that the new gas units will “represent a significant net increase in greenhouse gas emissions and have therefore negative climate impacts.” http://repower.drax.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Drax-PEIR-NTS.pdf

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