Aberthaw coal-fired power station near Barry, South Wales was blockaded today by Reclaim The Power campaigners, who set up tripods on the road leading to the site.
The plant is Europe’s dirtiest, and was fined earlier this year by the European Courts of Justice (ECJ) for breaching emissions limits after it put out more than double allowed levels of nitrogen dioxide from 2008-11. Nitrogen oxides have been linked to the early deaths of an estimated 400 people a year in the surrounding region.
The campaigners are calling for a quick shut-down of Aberthaw as part of of an acceleration of plans to phase out the burning of unabated coal , which under current government plans could take another nine years — raising the possibility that Britain will miss commitments made during the Paris climate accords signed in 2015r. Grace Wild, from Reclaim the Power in Cardiff, said:
“Our community deserves air they can breathe. Instead of supporting clean energy, the government is choosing to waste public money on dangerous, outdated power stations like Aberthaw. These power stations need to be closed, and resources put into developing the growing renewables economy in the area.
“Aberthaw is kept alive – despite breaking the rules – on the myth of supporting the Welsh economy. But it’s our communities that are dying from air pollution, and our farming, tourism and coastal towns that will be devastated by climate change. If the government wanted to support the welsh economy, they should be supporting a thriving, jobs rich renewables sector.”
Last year the Welsh Assembly voted to put a stop to open cast mining in Wales, but the government has yet to act.
Aberthaw, owned by RWE energy group, intends to switch from Welsh sources to imported coal from March 2017 following the ECJ ruling, most likely from Russia and Colombia.
Air pollution is a significant health issue for the communities living near the existing coal mines in Colombia and Russia. In Kuzbass, Russia’s main coal mining region for export, 93% of the ground water is polluted by coal dust. In Colombia young children experience breathing difficulties due to dust and close proximity of mines.
Reclaim the Power are calling for more actions against RWE and Aberthaw to keep up the pressure. They note:
“With a rolling series of actions, enacted sequentially rather than all at once, we can increase the pressure on RWE. Affinity groups are asked to stick to the action agreement. Affinity groups from across the country can be accommodated in neighbouring cities. Trainings, action ideas and mobiliser talks can be provided.”
Email info [at] reclaimthepower.org.uk for more information.