National Eviction Team on site
Since UK Coal's 'representatives' in the form of the National Eviction Team (NET) arrived on site last week, tree houses in an area away from the main camp have been dismantled and some destruction of the grassland at the southern end of the site has begun. This area now appears to be patrolled by at least six employees of NET, who have been hanging out inside the Harris fencing with the diggers as well as in a landrover in the field near the footpath which has been 'temporarily' closed for nearly 4 years. They were looking extremely bored when we paid a visit, although not quite bored enough to oblige us by smiling for the camera. I don't imagine that UK Coal will be wanting to pay them to stand aimlessly staring across the field at the camp for too long.
Community Support Officer not supporting the community. No surprises there
Meanwhile, back up at the main gate... I was under the impression that Community Support Officers always walked from A to B, or at least cycled, but here in Shropshire they seem to have their very own cars. They'll be issuing them with guns next. We found the local CSO inside the fence that's been put up round the diggers. She was very pally with the NET bods, which didn't seem appropriate to us since NET is hardly the 'community' she's paid to serve. If the CSO really wanted to support the community she could have helped carry the water back to the camp, or used her awesome powers to keep the heavy plant moving and the roads clear on the day all the diggers moved in.
Help needed to resist eviction
From the recent activity on the site, it seems that UK Coal is pressing ahead with this venture in spite of its continuing financial troubles and that an attempted eviction of the main site might not be too far in the future, although papers have yet to be served on the campers. If you want to be part of the spirited resistance to UK Coal's plans and if you want to make it as difficult and costly as possible for UK Coal to start extracting coal from this area (with a bit of luck it will go out of business before that happens), then get yerselves down to the camp as soon as you can.
Site phone numbers: 07503 583419 or 07727 295232
See also this report for more information, directions etc.
If you want to get involved in other coal resistance and find out about campaigns happening across the country, visit the Coal Action Network website.