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UK Coal Industry Braced for 48hrs of Protests

E.on | 24.11.2008 13:07 | Climate Camp 2008 | Climate Chaos | Globalisation | Social Struggles

Today the ‘E.on Face Off’ direct action campaign was officially announced to the press (see press release below). The direct action campaign will start with the 48 hours of action against E.on and New Coal (Friday 28th / Saturday 29th Nov).

Get together, get creative, and plan an action!

For target ideas and action resources see -

If you would like a pre-made leaflet to use on the day – you can download one from -


Climate activists launch ‘E.on Face Off’ direct action campaign

November 24th 2008: For immediate release

The stage is set for a face off between climate activists and the UK coal industry, with 48 hours of action kicking off at 12.01AM on Friday 28th November 2008 [1].

The protests, called by the Camp for Climate Action [2], are part of an ongoing struggle to prevent a return to coal powered electricity generation in the UK, and will be the first major salvo of a new campaign to stop the construction of a new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent [3].

Susan Moore, of the Camp for Climate Action, said today: ‘With these protests, we are launching an ongoing direct action campaign designed to cause maximum disruption to all aspects of the construction of Kingsnorth power station. E.on, companies in its supply chain, and anyone associated with new coal in the UK are all potential targets. Burning coal is the dirtiest way to produce electricity, and we refuse to stand by as the green light is given to a new generation of coal fired power stations’.

Campaigners have been spurred on by their recent victory against Kingsnorth’s owners, E.on. This month, a national wave of student protests forced E.on to abandon its graduate recruitment tour [4]. Activists are now preparing to step up the campaign against E.on and new coal by targeting both their day to day operations and their brands.

‘We are going to hit E.on where it hurts, by damaging their brand. Once we expose E.on’s greenwash, and people see the company for what it truly is – one of the biggest climate criminals in the UK – we will start to see people changing their energy suppliers and organisations refusing their dirty sponsorship money’, said the Camp for Climate Action’s David Elliot.

Activists have used the internet to organise and advertise the 48 hours of action, launching a new website (, and using social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. The new website provides activists with resources for direct action and information on key targets, such as addresses for the Coal Authority, E.on and UK Coal offices, and schedules for FA Cup games. The 48 hours of action have intentionally been organised to coincide with the 2nd round of the E.on-sponsored FA Cup.

Organisers predict dozens of actions across the UK during the 48 hour period, but details of the planned actions are being kept under wraps.


For more information visit:
Telephone: 07772 861 099 and 07932 096 677

Notes for editors:

[1] Full details available at:

[2] The Camp for Climate Action ( has called the 48 hours of action. Rising Tide, Plane Stupid and the Campaign against Climate Change are all supporting the call and mobilising their supporters.

[3] E.ON have applied for Government permission to build the first new UK coal-fired plant in thirty years at Kingsnorth in Kent. If built, this power station would produce the same amount of carbon dioxide as the world's 30 least polluting countries combined. The new government Department for Energy and Climate Change is currently deliberating over whether to give the go-ahead for a new coal power station at Kingsnorth, and an announcement is expected soon. The Kingsnorth decision is likely to influence plans for six other coal-fired power stations: Longannet, Cockenzie, Tilbury, Fiddler’s Ferry, Ferrybridge and Blyth. See:

[4] Anti-coal protests at graduate careers fairs around the UK have forced E.on to cancel the remainder of its recruitment tour. The energy company has seen at least seventeen of its careers events disrupted over the last month. For more information see

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Hide the following 2 comments

Can tories come along as well?

24.11.2008 22:55

Take it none of you lot have ever been unemployed then, or more likely you have as you don't even need a job as mummy and daddy pay for everything?

Will you be inviting baroness thatcher to join your protest against the coal industry?


no new coal = ?

28.11.2008 01:06

Am I missing something about the argument about new coal?

From what I've read here and elsewhere the argument seems seems to be very one dimensional and seemingly disregards the UK's future energy needs on the basis that anything or nothing would be better than coal (which from a deep green perspective may be true but is a broad step away from political and social reality).

Every energy source has it's issues;

GAS: Finite supply, sourced from politically volatile regions, much better suited to direct use than electricity generation on efficiency grounds (I see no lobbying against E.ON's plans for 2 new gas fired power stations) [SHOULDN'T BE USED FOR ELECTRICITY GENERATION ON A LARGE SCALE]

COAL: Finite supply (although easily enough for another 200-500 years), significant non-GHG air pollution issues but well regulated, high CO2 emissions unless CCS in place, price less volatile than oil/gas (Note: CCS components already proven to work, scalability issue is not technical but financial, very unlikely to be any long term CO2 storage issues) (Opportunity: Ensure new build is of gasification type and essentially operates as a hydrogen from coal factory. This allows for constant running and maximum efficiency, is entirely compatible with pre-combustion CCS, and means coal can easily be used for either baseload or flexible plant by switching from H2 storage to H2 combustion) [SHOULD ONLY BE BUILT WITH FULL CCS FROM 2020 GUARANTEED]

OIL: Very inefficient for electricity generation, volatile price, finite resource better deployed in transportation use for infrastructure poor nations. [SHOULDN'T BE USED FOR ELECTRICITY GENERATION ON A LARGE SCALE UNLESS COUPLED WITH CLOSURE OF GAS NETWORK AND MASS ROLLOUT OF HEAT PUMPS. SHORT TERM SOLUTION, USE IN DIRECT APPLICATION ONLY BUT NOT TRANSPORT IN LONG TERM]

NUCLEAR: Relatively unaffected by resource price due to high capital cost vs low operational cost. Operational safety issues unlikely to be a significant concern although vulnerability to terrorist attack of either operations or waste streams is an unknown but potentially high risk. Short to medium term storage (up to 500 years) not of significant concern any more. Longer term geological storage a complete unknown and potentially unknowable risk. Potential for treatment of high level waste to reduce half-life but could prove expensive and inlikely to be considered in upcoming planning applications. [SIGNIFICANT ISSUES BUT MAY BE A NECESSARY MEDIUM TERM MEASURE TO ALLOW FURTHER RENEWABLE DEVELOPMENT WHILST MAINTAINING SYSTEM INTEGRITY]

WIND: Huge UK wind potential particularly offshore, fairly reliable but impossible to match demand and supply with existing grid set up which doesn't allow for storage. Realistically, every 10GW of wind installed will be lucky to generate the equivalent of a 1MW thermal plant when averaged across the year. Without significant improvements to energy storage capacity large scale wind as planned by UK plc will necessitate fossil fuel back up on a grand scale. In the interim the distribution networks will simply lose efficiency due to uneven load and theoretical carbon savings will not be realised. [CONTINUE WITH PLANS TO EXPAND WIND BUT FOCUS R&D EFFORTS ON STORAGE AND DEMAND MANAGEMENT]

SOLAR: Great for water heating even in northerly locations, relatively inexpensive per kWh for solar thermal. PV efficiencies improving all the time but still not economical at UK latitudes so only suitable for off-grid application at present. Reported R&D indicates that doubling of efficiency over the next 5-10 years may make the price marginal enough to come into play. Large scale reflector type collectors likely to provide best hope for the future but unlikely to be economical for UK in the foreseeable future (i.e. not before 2030 at least). [SOLAR THERMAL ECONOMICAL NOW, PV SUITABLE FOR WIDER ROLLOUT FROM 2020, LARGE SCALE SOLAR PROJECTS BEYOND 2030? POSSIBLE GRID LINKS TO MED OR NORTHERN AFRICA]

WAVE: Immature technology, high maintenance costs, shipping issues, more consistent/predictable than wind. High cost option with potential to meet 1% of UK demand at best. [CONTINUE DEVELOPMENT BUT NOT MAJOR R&D PRIORITY]

TIDAL: Barrages bad, reefs good. RSPB backed Severn Reef proposal looks promising and coupled with smaller equivalents at strategic UK locations could provide well over 10% total UK demand. [EXPLORE FEASIBILITY OF REEF SYSTEMS AND SEA BED TURBINES. SHOULD BE THE FOCUS OF MARINE ENERGY R&D]

BIOMASS & BIOFUELS: Serious sustainability concerns, technical issues at commercial power plant scale due to volatility and uncertainty of supply. Move to electric vehicles or hydrogen vehicles precludes need for expansion of biofuels except from waste treatment applications. [LIMIT TO SMALLER SCALE USE, ELIMINATE UNSUSTAINABLE SOURCES SUCH AS PALM OIL, CORN ETHANOL]

CONCLUSION: Gas for direct use only, Coal is the best fit option in the medium term but only with mandated CCS (increasing minimum EUETS carbon price as part of global trading system could eliminate the need for a mandate). No Coal commissioned after 2010 should be permitted to run without CCS post 2020. All non-CCS coal to be decomissioned by 2030. Complete cessation of use of coal from 2050. Phase out oil use for fuel and focus remaining oil supplies on plastics and other uses where alternatives have not yet been developed. Nuclear will be a necessary evil for the next 50-100 years to ensure stability and integrity of energy systems particularly if personal transport is electrified. Longer term nuclear waste issues need serious consideration. Wind capacity to increase below planned levels and only further beyond 2020 once major storage issues have been addressed. Solar of small scale relevance at present by holds best potential in very long term. Wave, limited viability bit rollout should continue to provide a degree of renewable breadth. Tidal offers best medium term renewable opportunity and Severn Reef may offer a mini panacea. Biomass/biofuels only suitable for dealing with waste and for small scale applications.

So, returning to the original point, actually new coal is the most cost effective medium term solution assuming CCS is directly or indirectly mandated and will set UK plc broadly on the right track in terms of delivering on CO2 targets. The two potential consequences of not building new coal are a) significantly higher energy prices, or b) life extension of existing fossil fuel plants leading to higher CO2 emissions.

If we're planning to lobby E.ON we should be targeting wasteful use of natural gas, future nuclear waste issues and recommending greater focus on tidal development, energy storage and pushing them to move into the electric vehicle charging market so we can quickly phase out our dependence on oil.


Gordon B