18 actions against fuel injustice
June 2, 2015

Last weekend activists from Reclaim the Power camped at Didcot gas fired power station, Oxfordshire. On Monday (1st June) an amazing 18 places were targetted. This included

Action 1: 9.04am – Npower’s debt collection and pre-payment meter office in Leeds blockaded

RWE-Leeds-blockadeKeith, one of the protesters from Hebden Bridge, said:

“We’re here today to highlight the hypocrisy of big energy companies profiting from a continued investment in destructive fossil fuels. RWE npower paid no corporation tax for three years, while forcing the most vulnerable people deeper into fuel poverty through the use of prepayment meters, standing charges and debt collection.”

RWE npower own Aberthaw Coal fired power station in South Wales which is in breach of EU air quality standards.

cantcleancoalAction 2: 9.08am – Delegates at World Coal Association conference locked out of Institute of Directors

The activists locked themselves onto the front and back doors of the venue, preventing hundreds of business executives from the coal industry from entering the conference. The protesters, wearing aprons and rubber gloves, armed with dustpans and brushes, and holding a banner saying “You Can’t Clean Coal,” are also attempting to sweep up bags of coal that have been spread in front of the conference entrance.

Fossil fuel companies and governments present Carbon Capture and Storage, a technology to capture and store carbon emissions from fossil fuels, as a solution to climate change. However, the technology remains unproven at scale and many belief it simply serves as a justification to burn more dirty coal, oil and gas, rather than promoting cleaner, more secure and more developed renewables technologies.

Drax power are currently applying for planning permission to build a new coal fired power station which may use carbon capture and storage. However, this will still rely on tousands of tonnes of coal being mined and acres of trees being felled to supply a new power station with fuel, CCS increases the amount of fuel required to produce the same amount of electricity. The government has already supported the bid with £50 million for a feasibility study. If the plant operated with CCS it could be eligible for annual subsidies and up to £300 million from the European Commission. There is also plans for a CCS plant at Grangemouth from a company using captured carbon to exploit depleted oil and gas fields in the US. Claims the technology would be clean, whilst using it to produce more fossil fuels is clearly a lie.

Action 4: 9.10am – Invesco’s Revolving door between Drax and government closed

Two activists from Reclaims the Power have blocked the revolving doors at Invesco, the former employer of the new junior DECC minister Andrea Leadson.
This symbolises the revolving door between large companies such as Invesco and government posts. The investment management company own 26% of Drax coal fired power station making them the largest shareholder of the company who own Drax, the dirtiest and largest power station in the UK.
Drax is pushing forward with plans to build a new coal fired power station, the White Rose Project, which may involve CO2 being captured and stored. However the reality of CCS is not all the companies want us to believe it to be. It would require an increase in fuel to be burnt to produce the same amount of electricity; would require huge additional infrastructure to be built to transport the waste CO2 and places to put CO2 indefinetely. Carbon Capture and storage is really Capture and Dump, because the only use for the CO2 is to extract more oil and gas from depeleted oil and gas fields. But dumping is ilegal and so they call it storage, very similar to the storage of nuclear waste. Most CCS projects have been shelved but Drax want to go ahead and keep burning coal and biofuels to produce dirty energy and CCS doesn’t change that.

swindonAction 9: 10.55am – RWE Npower headquarters in Swindon blockaded

Reclaim the Power activists climbed on to the roof of RWE npower HQ in Swindon, to highlight Npower’s role in the fuel poverty crisis and their impact on fossil fuels for generations to come.

Joline, a protester in Swindon said: “I am doing this in solidarity with our friends in Germany, occupying and defending the last precious corner of the 5,500 hectares of the Hambacher forest from the open cast mine owned by RWE.” RWE npower also own Aberthaw power station in South Wales which is currently breaking EU laws on air pollution for which the UK government is being taken to the EU court.

RWE npower are one of the ‘Big Six’ energy companies who control the UK’s energy supply. They are one of Europes biggest fossil fuel polluters, with many highly polluting enterprises including a huge open cast coal mine in Germany.  They also lobby the UK government to extend the life of of dirty power stations and yet they’ve been chosen to help represent the UK government in EU decision making on reducing carbon emissions. In the last three years they made nearly 800 million pounds in profit whilst paying no corporation tax. Last year, 10,000 people died from fuel poverty.

Maisie Bell, 28, Care assistant from Bradford and one of the protesters, said: “RWE npower are the biggest CO2 emitter in Europe. They are committing us to untold damage from climate change, while taking none of the responsibility. We’re here today to highlight the hypocrisy of big energy companies profiting from a continued investment in destructive fossil fuels.”

Imperial-College-LondonAction 18: 2.30pm – Occupation of Imperial College’s Department of Mining

Reclaim the Power activists occupied and staged a performance at the Department of Mining, Imperial College London University to protest against the University accepting millions of pounds from the fossil fuel industry, more than any other university in the UK, in order to fund research projects.

The Department of Mining has received £17.3m from Shell and BP alone, alongside many other international corporations which are all fuelling dangerous climate change. The fact that companies fund university research means that the results are inevitably biased which in turn influences teaching and taints knowledge shared beyond the University.

As well as research funding, Imperial receive donations, sponsorships and consultancy deals with BP, Total, Shell, Schlumberger, Statoil, EDF, Anglo American, Aramco, ConocoPhillips, Exxon, Texaco, British Gas and npower they invite oil executives onto university committees and present themselves publicly as “a fossil fuel university”.Of which EDF, Anglo American and NPower are all involved in coal mining, sales or coal fired power stations.

Well done to all the people who took action against unsustainable fuels and highlighted the links between companies, investors and the government in hiding the reality of our situation in relation to catastrophic climate change. For full coverage of all the actions (not just the coal related ones as summarised here) see