Climate camp convenes at coal plant

Climate change campaigners have set up camp at the Kingsnorth power plant in Kent to protest about the UK's continuing reliance on coal.

A follow up to last year’s protests at Heathrow, which focused on the CO2 contribution of aviation emissions, Climate Camp 08 seeks to turn public attention to the role of coal.

Kingsnorth on the Hoo Peninsula has been chosen as energy giant E.On plans to demolish the existing coal-fired power station and replace a with a new, albeit more efficient, coal-fired power station.

The planned power station would meet the Government’s requirements for new coal generators to be ‘carbon capture ready’ – a requirement lambasted by opposition MPs as effectively meaningless as large-scale carbon capture and storage is still many years off

Nick Reeves, executive director of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, said his organisation was backing the campaigners and agrees with their sentiments that ‘clean coal’ is a nonsense term like ‘friendly fire’.

“If Kingsnorth is allowed to go ahead, we will know that the Government cannot be trusted with environmental policy or action on climate change,” he said.

“Along with plans for airport expansion, energy from coal is yet another barmy idea that has no basis in science fact or common sense. As the organisers of the Climate Camp protest say, ‘how stupid can you be’?”

E.On commissioned an Ipsos MORI survey of local residents to gauge public support for the planned plant which found that 57% strong support or tend to support the plans.

22% said they strongly opposed or tended to oppose the plans.

“We as a company are also very concerned about climate change which is one of the reasons why we’re closing the existing Kingsnorth plant by the end of 2015 and planning to build a much more efficient station,” said Alan Sanderson, plant manager.

“It’s certainly gratifying that local people believe in our plans.”

Sam Bond

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