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West-Midlands climate activists join occupation of Welsh coal mine

westmidlands @ ffos y fran | 04.04.2008 22:33 | Climate Chaos | Ecology | Social Struggles | Birmingham

A group from the West-Midlands neighbourhood of the Camp for Climate Action
yesterday joined with others from around the UK to halt the climate wrecking
activities of Europe's biggest opencast coal mine at Ffos-y-fran in South

capitalism or the planet
capitalism or the planet

The site
The site


banner detail
banner detail

Whose Cat and Komatsu? Ours!
Whose Cat and Komatsu? Ours!

Our earth
Our earth

locked on as security arrive
locked on as security arrive

fossil fool
fossil fool

dont mess with b.a.
dont mess with b.a.

red and black
red and black

Four people from Birmingham and Telford locked themselves onto machinery for
over eight hours yesterday in protest at the absurd climate policies of the
UK government who are supporting the mining of coal at Ffos-y-fran as part
of an ongoing plan to create a new generation of heavily polluting
coal-fired power stations. A Caterkiller bulldozer was taken at dawn by the group, next to a giant Komatsu digger which was occupied by another affinity group. This was all in conjunction with other actions happening across the whole site.

The protest comes as part of an international day of action against those fossil
fuel industries that continue to poison the air, pollute our waters and
damage our communities .

'Climate science has been telling us for years that we must drastically
reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases to avoid catastrophic climate
change,' explained Allison Houghton from Kings Heath, 'yet schemes such as
this one at Ffos-y-fran jeopardise all our attempts to do this. It is
absolutely ridiculous that the UK government, in collusion with big energy
companies, are trying to push us into a new coal era.'

Local residents from nearby Merthyr Tydfil have long opposed the scheme,
which is dangerously close to residential areas and schools. A number of
studies have also proved the negative health impacts of living in proximity
to coal dust particularly for children suffering from asthma. Despite
numerous legal appeals and petitions opposing the mining at Ffos-y-fran, the
largest of which runs to over 10,000 signatures, local democracy has failed
the people of Merthyr.

Miller-Argent, the consortium overseeing operations at the mine, have
worked closely with Westminster, the Welsh Assembly and local councils to
force the scheme upon the town and fight any objectors. They call the
scheme, which will extract 10.8 million tonnes of coal over 17 years, 'land

The occupation was heavily surveyed by Miller Argent security and by police,
while relations with site workers were largely friendly and cordial.

Along with banners taking aim at Miller-Argent's greenwash and making clear
the capitalist agenda that is undermining UK climate policy the
West-Midlands group also handed out leaflets to the workers at the mine. The
leaflets specifically addressed the link between climate change and big
business, and the urgent need to forge alliances between frontline workers
and 'fenceline' communities in areas where heavy industry operates.
Reference was made to the Just Transition Alliance (, a
pioneering scheme in the US aimed at forging this link, as well as
information on the Industrial Workers of the World ( As
of the group made clear: ' Those first exposed to the hazards of industrial
production are workers. The next to be exposed are working class
communities. It's obvious that open-cast coal mining is of commercial
importance only to the private companies who exploit the coal in Wales on
the cheap, at a great social, health and environmental cost to the local
people. And this is all before we even factor in the colossal damage that
climate change is wreaking on the planet!'.

This year's Camp for Climate Action will take place at Kingsnorth coal-fired
power station in Kent between 3-11 August. See for more information.

westmidlands @ ffos y fran