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Climate campaigners target coal power construction firm

Mike Holdman | 29.06.2009 11:09 | COP15 Climate Summit 2009 | Climate Chaos | Oxford

For the second time this month, protesters have focused on major building contractor BAM Nuttall due to its potential role in building the controversial Kingsnorth coal power station. Protesters have climbed the company’s flagpole and raised a flag reading “no new coal”. People have attempted to enter the building, asking to speak to Chief Executive Martin J. Rogers in order to give him a letter about the disastrous implications of building more coal-fired power stations.


29 June 2009, 11:30

For more information, interviews and photographs [1] contact Thames Valley Climate Action on 07912 614 541 or


Protesters focus on major building contractor BAM Nuttall due to potential role in controversial Kingsnorth coal power station

[Photo and filming opportunity at: BAM Nuttall Head Office, St. James House, Knoll Road, Camberly, Surrey, GU15 3XW]

For the second time this month, campaigners have targeted offices of Surrey-based building firm BAM Nuttall. Protesters have climbed the company’s flagpole and raised a flag reading “no new coal”. Seven people attempted to enter the building, asking to speak to Chief Executive Martin J. Rogers in order to give him a letter about the disastrous implications of building more coal-fired power stations.

The campaigners from Thames Valley Climate Action [2], are targeting BAM because the company is bidding for the contract to build a new coal power station at Kingsnorth in Kent, for the energy giant E.ON [3]. This would be the first new UK coal power station for 30 years, and would produce about 7 millions tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to the entire emissions of a country like Ghana [4]. According to a new report from Kofi Annan’s Global Humanitarian Forum, climate change is already killing 300,000 people per year, and will get much worse unless we urgently reduce our CO2 emissions [5].

One of the protesters, Mike Holdman, said: “We are here for the second time this month to demand that BAM Nuttall pulls out of building coal power stations. While we praise BAM’s introduction of low energy lighting and improved heating controls, these initiatives are a drop in the ocean compared with the emissions the firm will cause by building new coal power stations.”

The Government and E.ON are claiming that a new Kingsnorth power station would eventually include “carbon capture and storage” (CCS) technology, to catch 25% of its emissions and store them underground [6]. However, the campaigners inside BAM Nuttall point out that this is unproven technology that is still being tested, and won’t be available until at least 2020 [7]. Climate scientists say we need to make sharp carbon cuts long before that date [8]. Even if CCS is one day installed, and works as planned, the plant would still produce more CO2 than a gas power station [9].

The Government’s other favoured justification for building new coal power stations—that the emissions would be included in the EU’s “carbon trading” scheme—has been widely and heavily criticized. Critics say that this scheme is a complex and unworkable distraction from the real climate change solutions, that it isn’t reducing emissions, and it essentially hands control of the climate over to the same bankers, brokers and private traders responsible for the global financial crash [11].

Last week NASA’s top climate scientist, James Hansen, was arrested for taking action against new coal. Hansen said, “It seems to me that young people, especially, should be doing whatever is necessary to block construction of dirty coal-fired power plants.” Even Al Gore said in 2007, “I can’t understand why there aren’t rings of young people blocking bulldozers and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power stations.” One of today’s protesters, Anna Samuels, said: “You have a top politician and a top scientist calling for direct action on coal, as we are doing here today. Gore and Hansen must recognise that non-violent direct action has been an important catalyst in nearly every major social change movement in history, from woman’s suffrage to civil rights. We are here today to help catalyze the much-needed shift from coal to a low-carbon economy.”

Louise Smith said: “We need to think about the long-term picture. The Stern Review has shown that coal is not a cost-effective energy source when you factor in the damages that it will cause through future climate change. Climate scientists around the world, from Oxford University’s Myles Allen to NASA’s James Hansen, are denouncing coal. We ask BAM Nuttall to do the same, and stop building new coal power stations.”


Notes to Editors:

[1] Photographs of our protest at BAM earlier this month are available at
[2] TVCA is part of the Camp for Climate Action network, which set up a week-long protest camp at Kingsnorth in August 2008—see Today’s action is part of a national campaign, supported by the Camp for Climate Action, called the E.ON Face Off—see Previous actions have included the occupation of E.ON’s UK head office by protesters dressed as Santa Claus, and actions at E.ON stalls at University recruitment events, which led to the company abandoning its graduate recruitment drive.
[3] BAM Nuttall is a construction and civil engineering firm owned by the Royal BAM Group
[4] Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre:
[5] Global Humanitarian Forum:
[9] Generating electricity from coal produces about twice as much CO2 per KWh than generation from gas. Therefore a 25%reduction would leave coal about 1.5 times as polluting as gas.
[10] See for example:, and

Thames Valley Climate Action

Mike Holdman
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UPDATE: Five protesters have entered the building

29.06.2009 11:30

UPDATE: Five protesters entered the building and were later ejected. They are now being searched under Section 1. No arrests thus far.

Mike Holdman
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Photo update

29.06.2009 12:36

Some photos from the action:

Mike Holdman
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Cover Letter and CV Submitted to BAM

29.06.2009 14:31

During the course of the action we gave BAM Nuttall a fake CV and cover letter from one of our activists. They are included below:


Monday June 29th

Dear Mr Rogers,

As you can see from the CV (attached), we have all the knowledge and experience anyone working for a responsible construction firm could need. We hope you have the same knowledge and will act in accordance with it.
Anthropogenic global warming is happening. Its effects will be devastating if we keep emitting carbon dioxide at anywhere near the rate we do now. You surely know this.
At a time like this, no matter what the economic situation, firms must look at the wider picture. Companies must decide which projects to take on based not just on short-term profit, but also on the long-term good of all humans.
Your company bid to build Kingsnorth, which would be the first coal-fired power station to be built in the UK in twenty years. Coal is the dirtiest of greenhouse gases, and a single Kingsnorth would emit more carbon dioxide than Ghana. Involving your company in such a project would be deeply irresponsible.
Carbon Capture and Storage is unproven technology – Sir David King has said that it will never be commercially viable, especially when retrofitted, as the government’s proposed four new plants would be. If CCS does fail to be commercially viable, as most scientists predict it will do, four coal-burning power stations will be spewing CO2 into the atmosphere and destroying any chance of avoiding overwhelming climate change.
Do what is right and what is responsible. Construct renewables, not coal – lead us to a better, safer future.
Declare your intention not to be involved in the construction of any new coal-fired power plants. What a positive and inspiring move that would be.

Yours Sincerely,

Thames Valley Climate Action



• A resourceful and enthusiastic group committed to stopping Climate Catastrophe

(1988-2009): Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (

• Global mean temperature changes of up to 2 degrees above 1990-2000 levels would exacerbate current impacts of climate change, such as increases in human mortality, loss of glaciers and increases in the frequency and/or intensity of extreme events (high confidence), and could trigger reduced food security (medium confidence).
• Global mean temperature changes of over 4 degrees above 1990-2000 levels would lead to major vulnerablility (very high confidence), exceeding the adaptive capacity of many systems (very high confidence).
• Many impacts can be reduced, delayed or avoided by mitigation. Delayed emission reductions significantly constrain the opportunities to achieve lower stabilisation levels and increase the risk of more severe climate change impacts.

(1948-2009): The World Health Organisation (

• Health effects of anthropogenic global warming include: increasing frequencies of heat waves; compromised supply of freshwater, increasing the risk of water-borne disease; increased risks of malnutrition; population displacement due to rising sea level;, longer transmission seasons and increases geographic range of vector-borne diseases.
• Climate change causes around 150,000 each year due to crop failure and malnutrition, diarrhoeal disease, malaria and flooding alone.

(2006-2009): E.ON

• During my time at EON I learnt the art of greenwash and collusion with government - in sum, I learnt that for energy companies, profit always comes before honesty or the good of humankind.
• E.ON wants to build Kingsnorth – a coal fired power station which will emit more emissions than Ghana. Coal is the dirtiest of all fossil fuels, and building just one more coal-fired power station would mean that the UK could reduce its emissions by a maximum of 15% by 2020 – far less than the 40% needed. If a similar thing happened throughout the world a rise of over 2 degrees would be inevitable, causing the problems outlines above.

(1997-2009): The Labour Party

• During my time at the Labour Party I learnt that coherent policy is not important – you can commit to an 80% reduction in greenhouse emissions while approving new runways and coal fired power stations which will make it impossible to meet those targets.
• I learnt that it perfectly possible to ignore the science while coming up with policy – despite the fact that CCS is unlikely to ever be proven, Ed Miliband approved four new coal fired power stations, each which will emit more emissions than Ghana, with the condition that they are retrofitted with CCS as long as it is “commercially viable”.

• The Maldives, a country which will disappear due to rising sea levels if climate change continues unabated, is committed to becoming zero carbon by 2020 .
• If the UK meets its legally binding energy saving and renewables targets there will be no need for new coal power stations
• If the UK doesn’t invest in renewables we will soon fall behind in the world and end up paying millions for green technologies
• The UK’s targets are legally binding, so in the end companies which are heavily involved and invested in carbon intensive activities will lose out and share prices will plummet.

Good at motivating and galvanising, making people realise that we don’t have to be cynical – everyone can play a part in the solution. BAM Nuttall – put your energies and efforts into constructing energy sources which won’t contribute to Climate Catastrophe.

Mike Holdman
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Contract Journal change/update their story

01.07.2009 23:22

Talking to Bam
Talking to Bam

Being removed - despite not getting into the building?
Being removed - despite not getting into the building?

Contract Journal [] have changed their report of this action. In their first article they reported that:
A Bam Nuttall spokesman said ... “This time they weren’t able to get into the building as we’d stepped up security ...”
Article title: Protesters return to Bam Nuttall headquarters

A certain pixie or pixies got in touch with the journos at Contract Journal and informed them that the Bam spokeperson was incorrect (to say the least). Turns out that not only did protestors get inside the building, but that there was photographic evidence of this. Fair play to Contract Journal, they seem to have taken this evidence on board, and they actually published it - with a link on their home page. Here's a link to the updated story, followed by a 'slight revision' from the Bam spokesperson:
Article title: Protesters infiltrate BAM Nuttall head office - PHOTOS
And to quote the Bam spokeperson from the article ...
"The protesters made it into the reception area but couldn't progress as we now have extra security doors."

Might just be me, but this sounds a bit different to the original statement.

It's almost like the Bam spokesperson might be telling untruths. Like in the original article when s/he said "They unfurled a banner and chanted slogans" - the banner is true, but no slogans were chanted (come on Bam - tell us what was being chanted). Makes me wonder if I can belive this person at all. Especially when they say "I don't know why they're targeting us as we have good green credentials." Bidding to be part of building Kingsnorth? Green credentials? Need I say more? No. Good.

Pics that were sent to Construct Journal attached. Video was offered (but not taken up as yet). Watch this space!

Thames Valley Climate Action
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Display the following 8 comments

  1. Section 1 — kakaka
  2. Nice one! — boh-selecta
  3. Update: Two locals also joined the protest off the street — Mike Holdman
  4. Coverage on New Internationalist blog — zogo
  5. Coverage in the local press — Mike Holdman
  6. Loving Thames Valley Action so much — Glad
  7. Bam are liars! — Bam are liars
  8. Whoop! — Bobus mellifera