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Eon announces delay on Kingsnorth

Iggy | 09.10.2009 00:01 | Climate Chaos | Ecology | Energy Crisis

With just a week to go until climate activists converge on EOn's Ratliffe on Soar coal power station, the company has announced that it is delaying plans to build a new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth until at least 2012. Climate Camp promised to return to Kent to stop a new power station being built at Kingsnorth, and this summer launched 'Tipping Point' a social centre in Gillingham to bolster the local campaign. The project has been busy making connections and doing direct action training expecting a long drawn out battle, but on Wednesday 7th of October Eon announced it was dropping any immediate plans to replace the existing power station with another coal-fired power plant.

Reports: Actions Escalate Against Eon | Adopt a contractor | Eon PR company hit | Construction firm hit | Climate Camp at Kingsnorth 2008 | E-on F-off begins | Various

Responses in the Newswire: WDM | KCAM | Climate Camp: 1|2|3 | Analysis: 1|2


Too Good To Be True?

Eon has claimed the decision was a result in lower electricity demand during the recession with a company statement saying, “We expect to defer an investment decision on the Kingsnorth proposals for up to two to three years”.

On the surface it sounds a bit like the victory campaigners have been after – no new Kingsnorth, the first of a wave of new coal-fired power station. However their announcement isn’t exactly strong and it turns out that Eon are still seeking a billion pounds from the government for the project so clearly they'd still like to go ahead if the sums add up for them. As for the delay, they’d not have been starting construction until after the government coughed up a billion quid to subsidise the project and that wasn’t expected until 2011.

Nether-the-less there is no denying that this represents some sort of a a victory for climate activism. In addition to the 2008 camp at Kingsnorth, resistance by the Camp For Climate Action to the Kingsnorth plan has been widespread, including an action on E.ON’s PR firm Edelman, starting a campaign against construction firms bidding for the Kingsnorth contract, and setting up 'Tipping Point' in nearby Gillingham High Street to bolster local opposition with direct action training. Climate camp activists have also invaded Eon headquarters, dumped coal at E.ON student recruitment events, given out leaflets at FA Cup football matches sponsored by E.ON, and disrupted a climate change conference sponsored by the energy giant itself. To top it all, a lone activist shut down the power station during a 48 hours of action called for by the camp.

So the news is still sinking in and people trying to figure out what it actually means. Regardless, Kingsnorth isn’t the end of the fight against new coal and runaway climate change. While this particular battle may be over, the war against new coal has yet to be won. The campaign was never simply about stopping a new Kingsnorth. There are other companies eager to return to coal power (including one at Hatfield near Doncaster) and the fight continues.

Campaigns: Climate Camp | Eon Watch | Eon F Off | Don't Build Kingsnorth | No New Coal | The Coalhole | Leave It In The Ground | The Tipping Point | Climate Shop



UPDATED - timeline of actions and key events in the campaign against Kingsnorth

14.10.2009 11:48

Here's an update of the timeline we've been working on. No doubt there are still many more entries to be made so if you have suggestions let us know. We intend to turn this into a display along with photos so if anyone has hi-res images relating to any of the dates mentioned then please get in touch via campaigns @

*October / December 2006*
Eon apply for planning permission to build two new 800MW ‘supercritical’ coal-fired plants at Kingsnorth. Costing £1.7bn, it would be the UK's first coal-fired plant for 24 years and emit 8m tonnes oc CO2 per year. Eon boasted that plant would be ‘capture ready’ in preparation for carbon capture being ‘considered as an option’ at some later date. To this end the proposal set aside some land. While mentioning both combined heat and power plus the prospects for carbon capture and storage in their PR spin, the application didn't actually include either of these technologies. If approved, Eon wanted the power station up and running by 2012.

*9th April 2007*
Climate activists disrupted operations at Eons Radcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station after climbing onto conveyor belts and dumper trucks. A spokeswoman said: "Putting pressure on individuals to reduce emissions when companies like E.ON are profiting from this polluting industry is obscene and irresponsible. We should not be burning coal in the 21st century."
Ratcliffe Power Station Court Case : Nottingham Magistrates [day 1]
Ratcliffe Power Station Court Case : Nottingham Magistrates [day 2]
Ratcliffe Power Station Court Case : Nottingham Magistrates [day 3]
'Clean' Coal On Trial [Feature]
Ratcliffe Power station Climate Action, The Verdict
Convictions For Activists - Climate Criminals Walk Free
Ratcliffe Power station Climate Action, The Judgement

*September 2007*
Thousands of postcards opposing Eons proposal and signed by the public were given to the council. Around 9,000 people opposed the scheme. Robin Oakley of Greenpeace said, "We know that there's also been over 3,000 e-mails concerning this issue to the council too".

*8th October 2007*
Upping the antee somewhat, Greenpeace activists shut down the existing Kingsnorth power station with people climbing on to coal conveyors and up the chimneystack. The resulting legal case, refered to as the 'Kingsnorth Six', resulted in a not guilty verdict that was seen as a green light for direct action against the power station and the burning of coal.

*January 2008*
In the face of wide spread objections, councillors in Kent voted in favour of Eon plans. Refusal would have automatically led to a public enquiry.

*March 2008*
Eon annouced it was entering Kingsnorth into the government competition to develop commercial-scale CCS technology. E.ON's UK chief executive, Paul Golby, said: "Decarbonising fossil fuels - and especially coal - is one of the key challenges to be overcome if we are to combat climate change, and we aim to be right at the centre of the debate." They also proposed to government that the Kingsnorth planning decision should wait until the governments consultation process was over so they'd know what legal requirements would be expected of them.
John Sauven, Greenpeace executive director said, "E.ON's Kingsnorth climbdown is a major blow to John Hutton and his plans to have a new coal-fired power station under construction this summer."

*April 2008*
Thirty people blockaded the entrances to Eon's Nottingham offices, covered in green paint to represent E-on's greenwash. A spokesperson said, “We are here today because despite E-on publicly claiming green credentials, it is trying to build a new generation of coal fired power stations... We are here to tell E-on that they will not suceed and the only real solution to climate change is to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Coal is the dirtiest Fossil Fool and to build new coal power stations in the face of climate change is collective suicide.”

On the same day, People&Planet built a coal power station complete with 12ft cooling towers in Parliament Square and the World Developement Movement held the world's first laugh-in over plans for new coal at Kingsnorth at the Department for Enterprise, Business and Regulatory Reform.

*June 2008*
Kingsnorth Climate Action Medway formed. A petition campaign was started- petition to John Hutton objecting to Kingsnorth. Postcards were delivered to all residents in Hoo inviting them to a meeting in Fort Amherst run by WDM, KCAM and Climate Camp where the short film “Kingsnorth, a local issue going global” was screened.

*16th July 2008*
Greenwash Guerrrilla target Eon at greenwash converence

*27th July 2008*
The Climate Caravan started from the site of 2007 Camp for Climate Action at Heathrow. By wheel and foot, around 50 people made their way to Kingsnorth arriving at the camp on Sunday 3rd August after a number of actions against climate criminals on route.

*30th July 2008*
KCAM helped to organise the march from Rochester to Kingsnorth with Campaign against Climate Change.

*July/August 2008*
The site for the 2008 Camp for Climate Action was taken just a few fields from Kingsnorth under the banner 'No New Coal'
Over 800 people signed up to ‘return to Kingsnorth’ should Eon attempt to build a new coal-fire power station there.

*September 2008*
A group of Big IF pledgees from Yorkshire showed up to Ed Miliband's constituency surgery in Bentley, in Doncaster. They built a giant IF out of cardboard boxes right outside the door. The Energy and Climate Change Secretary came out to talk to them. They told him that this sort of action was a sign of the shape of things to come if he consents to a new generation of coal power stations, starting with Kingsnorth in Kent. They then handed over to the minister some of the 6000 pledges collected at that stage, over a thousand of which romise to take direct action to stop Kingsnorth going ahead.

WDM hosted a ‘question time’ evening with the local prospective parliamentary candidates in Gillingham.

Camp for Climate Action national gathering commits to organising a ‘rolling blockade’ to stop the construction of Kingsnorth.

*October 2008*
The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior came to the Medway to deliver a message to Eon.

KCAM organised a public meeting on the Hoo Peninsular.

Camp for Climate Action national gathering creates a ‘space’ working group to look at squatting, renting or buying land or a building for a permanent base of operation near Kingsnorth. The rolling blockade idea become the E-on Face Off campaign.

*November 2008*
E.ON withdraws from careers fairs due to persistent protests

*28/29/30th November 2008*
The E-On 'Face-Off' 48 hours of action begins...
Kingsnorth turned off by lone activist
Nottingham's part of 48 hours of nationwide action against E.ON
Christmas is Cancelled for E.on
E.ON F.OFF, Pall Mall (London)
London Rising Tide visited the F.A.Headquarters to protest about E-on's sponsorship of the FA Cup.
Warwick university E-ON demo
EON 48 hours of action BRIGHTON
Now it's 96 hours of action - E-ON HQ occupied
National E.On F.Off Actions Round Up

*13th April 2009*
Mass Arrest of 114 Climate Activists allegedly planning to shut down Eon’s Ratcliffe-on-soar

*23 April 2009*
Edi Miliband announces no new coal without CCS

*May 2009*
KCAM marked out predicted sea levels around Chatham and got more local media coverage of the campaign against the new Kingsnorth.

*June 2009*
Kingsnorth construction firm invaded by climate activists!
Climate campaigners target coal power construction firm

*22 June 2009 *
Greenpeace activists attempted to block a 20,000 tonne coal freighter docking at Kingsnorth.

*July 2009*
On the 10th July 2009 almost 1,000 people travelled to Kingsnorth where their formed a human chain around much of the plant. The "Mili-band" protest was a call for climate and energy secretary Ed Miliband to reject the scheme. The 'Big If' pledge campaign was also launched by the Climate Chaos Coalition.

Climate camp activists set up shop near Kingsnorth with the Tipping Point climate ‘infoshop’ in order to bolster the local campaign and start preparing for a drawn out campaign of direct action to stop construction.

*August 2009*
Kingsnorth Climate action handed their petition of over 1,600 signatures to their local MP Bob Marshall Andrews to pass onto Ed Miliband – local radio and papers picked up on the story.

*September 2009*
Announcement by the Camp for Climate Action of intention to target Eon’s Ratcliffe power plant on 17/18 Oct 2009
Climate Campers Escalate Action Against Eon
Activists Invade Construction Company HQ
Adopt a contractor announced.

*14th September 2009*
The Climate Chaos Coalition held a joint demo, attended by various NGOs and people from the Medway towns, outside the DECC in Whitehall to urge Ed Miliband to abandon the use of "climate-wrecking dirty coal power."

*23rd September 2009*
Reports emerge that Ed Miliband's energy and climate change department is under pressure from the Treasury to scale back its ambitions for new carbon capture and storage (CCS) coal plants. Miliband had said that the government would provide funding for up to four demonstration plants, but energy companies now believe this is likely to be revised down to just two. A spokeswoman for the energy department insisted that it was still a target to fund four projects and that there was no change in its plans.

*7th October 2009*
With just days until climate activists were set to converge on EOn's Ratliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station, the company unexpectedly announced it expected to delay building a new power station at Kingsnorth.

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