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11 climate activists arrested

17 fossil fuel industry targets disrupted in record-breaking day of action against Tory ‘dash for gas’
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Protest Picture from MyGreenPod Sustainable News

Two weeks into the Tory administration, climate activists from across the country have responded to the proposed ‘dash for gas’ and fracking plans by taking action against 17 targets related to the fossil fuel industry.

The Reclaim the Power activists came from a mass action camp which occupied the grounds of Didcot power station, Oxfordshire, over the weekend.

Reclaim the Power! Activists rally for day of mass action against fossil fuel industry

Taking action

The camp is part of an international weekend of action against the fossil fuel industry’s stranglehold on the UN Climate talks in Paris.

‘These actions come at a crucial time. We now have a new Tory government who are totally in bed with the fossil fuel industry – subsidising their friends and relatives in the fracking industry and committing to another round of gas-fired power stations.

‘They also plan to build infrastructure that will lock us into burning carbon for years to come while killing off renewable technology. Like the communities who have held off fracking for four years, people on the ground will take action to stop them in their tracks.

‘Until corporations are forced to loosen their stranglehold, political decisions will continue to be ruled by profit and ignore the growing dangers of climate change. The UN negotiations are doomed to failure as long as this remains the case. We want a safe, sustainable and more equal society. On 1 June we’ll show that we aren’t content to just sit back and wait for the governments to act.’

Hannah Martin, Reclaim the Power

Today’s activity

Today’s Reclaim the Power actions included:

  • A blockade at the Institute of Directors, where protestors super-glued themselves to front and back entrances and stopped hundreds of coal industry delegates from attending a conference hosted by the World Coal Association.
  • An occupation of the PR firm Mediazoo, which represents fracking giant INEOS, at which seven arrests were made.
  • An occupation of Imperial College London’s School of Mining by students and activists.
  • Blocked revolving doors at Invesco, the former employer of the new junior DECC minister Andrea Leadson. Two activists were arrested when they blocked a road by climbing on the office building with a banner that read ‘Congratulations on your new job. Ten years investing in fossil fuels and now our new energy minister.’
  • A blockade at Energy UK, where two activists were arrested after highlighting issues of fuel poverty and the winter deaths linked to rising fuel costs.
  • A ‘cheeky’ protest outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change against cuts to wind subsidies.
  • A creative intervention at the Shell-sponsored National Gallery, supporting workers who oppose privatisation.
  • Blockades of RWE offices in Leeds and its HQ in Swindon.
  • Activists superglued themselves to City Hall and erected a 30ft tripod to expose Mayor Boris Johnson’s refusal to divest the London Assembly from fossil fuel companies.
  • A visit to British Gas business headquarters in Oxford to deliver an Energy Bill of ‘Wrongs’.
  • Several Oxfordshire based actions, including a ‘love-in’ outside David Cameron’s office.
  • A march past Didcot power station by an intergenerational group and a giant fossil fuel dinosaur.
  • Shutting down Cuadrilla’s Headquarters in Lichfield.

Building our own future

As a decision looms over the future of Didcot’s gas-fired power-station, people all over the world are building community-led renewable solutions to replace fossil fuels, which would help provide good jobs, warmer homes and lower bills.

‘NPower’s relentless pursuit of fossil fuels will bring climate chaos, push more people into fuel poverty, and keep power and wealth in the hands of the 1%. Not only have Npower helped push people into fuel poverty, they are now making people reliant on them for hand-outs. This feels like a slap in the face for people who have had to choose between heating and eating.’

Kerry Fenton, Reclaim the Power

Research shows that Britain could be carbon neutral by 2030 using current technology. In Didcot, when a fire shut down the power station, it was wind power that kept the lights on. Community groups local to Didcot are building their own energy future through solar, wind and hydro projects that they control.

Keep it in the ground

Research shows that the UK can reach net zero carbon by 2030 using currently available technology and that switching to renewable energy is the most feasible solution to avoid catastrophic climate change.

The IPCC has warned of the dangers of relying on gas as a climate change solution, maintaining that most remaining fossil fuel reserves including 80% of coal reserves and 50% of gas – must stay in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Reclaiming the Power

Last year, Reclaim the Power activists converged in Blackpool to support local communities opposing fracking in the area. 13 nationwide actions originated from the camp, including protestors superglueing themselves to DEFRA’s headquarters, an occupation of Cuadrilla’s Blackpool office, a blockade of iGas’ London headquarters and a fracking site near Hull being shut down.

In 2013, thousands descended on Balcombe in support of the local anti-fracking protectors’ camp to shut down Cuadrilla’s proposed fracking site for six days. The national day of high-profile direct action saw Green Party MP Caroline Lucas being arrested.

Click here to find out more about Reclaim the Power, including its workshops, skill-sharing events and mass actions.

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