23 December, 2008
A power station engineer had written to me, after I had made these are the postings:
Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station Still Steams Ahead
Nottingham’s part of 48 hours of nationwide action against E.ON
thus prompted this exchange:
Subject: Ratcliffe Power Station.
Good Morning Alan,
Just reading the article on Ratcliffe and the protestors, saying the enviroment is getting too hot.
I have worked on Power Stations for over 25 years, I have seen dramatic changes to power stations over the last 7 or 8 years, with regards to enviroment status, many millions have been spent to bring them in line with the legal specifications, to maintain these regulated emissions they mix Biomass fuels with the coal to provide cleaner emissions.
With regards to the world getting hotter! I believe that this is a cycle of the natural earths elements, I assume that we could possibly accelerate this in some respect, so what do we do, do we go Nuclear? it is difficult to state exactly the harm all working generated machinery does and the power sources which drive our day to day living.
I would like to hear your veiws on power stations?
So, then I replied ……..
From: Alan Lodge [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 01 December 2008 12:23
Subject: RE: Ratcliffe Power Station.
thank you for your note.
I am a photographer, who has covered these issues for a little while now. Of course, I’m not only reporting on these issue, but have formed my own opinions.
Many people are concerned at the lack of progress made by governments and companies in combating emissions, chemical pollutants, CO2 and heat. The timescale some think might be more urgent than authorities seem to currently acknowledge, which means that concerned citizens have to take a pace forward and engage in actions that ‘stand in the way of the machine’ or, raise everyone else’s awareness on the nature and urgency of the situations in front of us.
Of course it might be as you say that we are seeing some ‘natural cycles’ in the world. There have been many before. But then again, it might be otherwise, that human activities when taken together with these cycles, might be enough to finish us [or other parts of flora & fauna] off. Might! Who knows. But by the time one side or the other is ‘proved’ to be correct, irreparable damages might have already taken place, with no route back. The famous tipping point! Thus, I think many with concerns on this issue would favour the precautionary approach thinking that we cannot go on like we are. No, not nuclear of course. The heritage this guarantees for future generations is clearly going to be as grim [or grimmer] as any legacy of climate changes that we leave to them. Biomass / fuels are also problematic, since again authorities and companies appear to lack social responsibility in the balances they create between the need for land to grow fuels or food.
I wonder if you could comment with you wide experience of engineering in power stations, if you think your skills and the money to maintains these technologies, might be better placed with renewables? Sustainable technologies, systems that you can just hypothesise as working for a large period of time, without running out of scares resources. Of course, they are not up to the job yet. But that is surely down to the levels of experience, expertise and invention. But also, the very minor percentages of budgets to make progress with such developments, oh and a planning system to better accommodate them.
On the other side of the equation from generation is consumption and conservation. The pace of home insulation, better development in industrial process and transport changes required are lamentable. There is most probably going to have to be a change in society that we may also have accept that we are simply going to have to make do with less! Shocker, what like a lot of the rest of the populations of the world.
I thank you for writing to me, and now you have my 6 pence worth, but Iwould like you to add your thoughts as a comment to my Indymedia posting at:
At the bottom of the text there, you will see a link “Submit an addition or make a quick comment on this article”. this opens another page, fill in the boxes and contribute. I personally think it would be nice if you would, and for you then to engage with those that might also comment there. Please do it.
A couple of days later, the Committee on Climate Change report was published earlier in the month.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is an independent body established under the Climate Change Act to advise the Government on setting carbon budgets, and to report to Parliament on the progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The the CCC’s report: Building a low-carbon economy – the UK’s contribution to tackling climate change is published today, and can be downloaded from:
In the press release, they summarize by saying:
They recommend a minimum 34% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, with a 42% cut if a global deal is achieved.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) today urged the Government to commit unilaterally to reducing emissions of all greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the UK by at least 34% in 2020 relative to 1990 levels (21% relative to 2005). This should be increased to 42% relative to 1990 (31% relative to 2005) once a global deal to reduce emissions is achieved. The CCC says meeting these targets is necessary to contain the threat of climate change. Building a low-carbon economy, the CCC’s first report sets out the analysis underpinning these recommendations and the proposed level of the first three carbon budgets covering the periods 2008-12, 2013-17 and 2018-22. The budgets are a worldwide first, designed under the Climate Change Act, which also establishes the CCC as an independent advisory body to Government. The report sets out how the budgets can be met by using existing technologies, and by putting in place a range of policies to move to a low-carbon economy:
* Moving away from using fossil fuels towards using cleaner forms of generating electricity and heat including greater use of renewables (wind power, biomass heat and heat pumps), nuclear and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS);
* By using energy more efficiently in our homes and office buildings and in industry, through better insulation, use of more energy efficient appliances and through reducing waste by turning lights off, shutting down computers and using air conditioning less;
* By reducing transport emissions, developing electric cars, improving the carbon efficiency of engines, developing use of sustainable bio-fuels, better journey planning and more use of public transport.
* Through purchasing offset credits (e.g. Clean Development Mechanism) to meet the 42% target, but not the 34% target.
These significant reductions can be achieved without harming the UK’s economy and at a cost less than 1% of GDP in 2020. In other words, an economy that might grow by 30% in the period to 2020, would instead grow by 29%. The CCC advises that this is a price worth paying, given the long-term costs of inaction on climate change.
Chair of the CCC Lord Turner said: “Climate change poses a grave threat to human welfare, the environment and the economy. We need to act now, in the UK and as part of a global agreement, to significantly reduce our emissions. It is not too late to tackle climate change, but it will be unless the world takes action soon, and the developed countries need to lead the way with strong commitments and strong delivery against the budgets. The budgets we have proposed are achievable given available and developing technologies, and provided the policies in place are implemented and where necessary reinforced. The reductions required can be achieved at a very low cost to our economy: the cost of not achieving the reductions, at national and global level, will be far greater”.
Committee on Climate Change (CCC) http://www.theccc.org.uk
Now, many of us still think that the report still allows for larger temperature changes over the near future period, than is probable healthy. However, companies like E-on are not going to like it one bit, probably they will still lable the reports as too draconian.
E-on doesn’t appear to have digested the report yet, since just before posting this, I have checked to see if they had made a press release at: http://www.eon-uk.com
They haven’t yet, but think we should hang on their every word, when they do.
Onwards and upwards.
22 December, 2008
• Kent force admits no officers hurt by protests
• £5.9m police operation ‘colossal waste of money’
When climate camp protesters descended on the site of the Kingsnorth power station for a week-long summer demonstration, the scale of the police operation to cope with them was enormous.
Police were accused of using aggressive tactics, confiscating everything from toilet rolls and board games to generators and hammers. But ministers justified what they called the “proportionate” £5.9m cost of the operation, pointing out that 70 officers had been injured in the course of their duties.
But data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act puts a rather different slant on the nature of those injuries, disclosing that not one was sustained in clashes with demonstrators.
Papers acquired by the Liberal Democrats via Freedom of Information requests show that the 1,500 officers policing the Kingsnorth climate camp near the Medway estuary in Kent, suffered only 12 reportable injuries during the protest during August.
The Home Office has now admitted that the protesters had not been responsible for any injuries. In a three-line written answer to a parliamentary question, the Home Office minister Vernon Coaker wrote to the Lib Dem justice spokesman, David Howarth, saying: “Kent police have informed the Home Office that there were no recorded injuries sustained as a result of direct contact with the protesters.”
Only four of the 12 reportable injuries involved any contact with protesters at all and all were at the lowest level of seriousness with no further action taken.
The other injuries reported included “stung on finger by possible wasp”; “officer injured sitting in car”; and “officer succumbed to sun and heat”. One officer cut his arm on a fence when climbing over it, another cut his finger while mending a car, and one “used leg to open door and next day had pain in lower back”.
A separate breakdown of the 33 patients treated by the police tactical medicine unit at the climate camp shows that three officers had succumbed to heat exhaustion, three had toothache, six were bitten by insects, and others had diarrhoea, had cut their finger or had headaches.
Coaker claimed in a parliamentary debate in September that the police had acted “appropriately and proportionately”, despite hundreds of complaints over unnecessarily heavy policing and calls for an investigation of police conduct by MPs, MEPs, councillors and members of the public.
Norman Baker, the Lib Dem MP for Lewes, who had called previously for an investigation of police tactics, said: “I personally witnessed unnecessarily aggressive policing, unprovoked violence against peaceful protesters, an extraordinary number of police on site, and tactics such as confiscating toilet rolls, board games and clown costumes from what I saw to be peaceful demonstrators.”
The list of items deemed potentially dangerous by police and seized from protesters included glue, marker pens, board games, cushions, carpet, wood, paint, and scissors as well as bicycle locks which could have been used to lock protesters to fences. Police also seized anything that could have been used to set up camp, including spades and duct tape, generators and hammers and nails.
Howarth said: “That the minister could defend as ‘proportionate’ a £5.9m policing operation in which there was not a single injury to police officers caused by the protesters beggars belief. The threat posed by environmental direct action is being systematically overblown by both the government and the police.
“I hope the government and the police will now stop trying to portray peaceful protesters as somehow equivalent to terrorists or violent extremists. In light of this new evidence, one has to ask, were climate campers so heavily policed because they posed any genuine threat of violence, or because they posed a challenge to government policy?”
Nick Thorpe, a spokesman for the climate camp, said: “Policing of peaceful protest has become increasingly heavy-handed. We saw thousands of officers swarming around a legal camp in a colossal waste of public money. The police and the government claimed there was a ‘violent minority’ of protesters but this Home Office admission reveals this as a complete fiction.”
Kingsnorth, a power station built 45 years ago on the Medway estuary in Kent can burn oil as well as coal. Two years ago its owner, the energy company E.ON UK, announced plans to build two “cleaner coal units” there. The new plants are the focus of protest for climate-change activists who believe the development will discharge carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases at too high a level. The Kingsnorth development will involve the first purpose-built, coal-fired power stations in the UK since completion of the Drax station in Yorkshire in 1986. E.ON claims the majority of the local population favours the project, and says a carbon capture and storage system “could eventually see 90% of its emissions captured and stored underground”. The company insists its port facilities on the Hoo peninsula and its own fleet of colliers will let it easily import low-sulphur coal. The new plants are meant to be operational in 2012. Of Kingsnorth, Greenpeace says: “[It will] emit the same amount of CO2 as the 30 least polluting countries in the world combined, and destroy any chance we have of persuading China and India to stop building coal plants.”
21 December, 2008
I don’t really do christmas. I think the idea is so bankrupt.
All hail the lord god of shopping and greed etc……..
A slightly older idea is that of paying some attention to the seasons and celestial events.
With this in mind, I wish all a Happy Solstice !!
winter solstice this year being at:
12.04 GMT on 21st december
For a better understanding of what goes on, please check out:
As for christmas, well, i think some greeks have an idea:
In Athens, rioters torched the capital’s massive Christmas tree in central Syntagma Square. As the hooded youths moved on, some protesters posed for photos in front of the blaze, and others sang the Greek version of “O Christmas Tree.”
10 December, 2008
Demos continue [December] at Heckler & Koch weapons HQ in Nottingham
In spite of the cold, raining and windy conditions, at 4pm on Monday 8th December, people had gathered at the gates to the UK headquarters of Heckler & Koch, based within the Easter Park Industrial Estate on Lenton Lane, Nottingham.
One would have thought that a city infamous for its gun crime would be a poor location for a warehouse full of guns. Not according to H&K, who do great business equipping war-mongers on any side.
Proud owners of H&K weaponry include the brutal militias of Darfur – the Janjaweed. Funnily enough, despite the outcry against the massacres in Darfur, they obviously weren’t quite bad enough to stop selling weapons to the perpetrators. Even a recent arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against a senior Sudanese politician accused of selling H&K weapons to the Janjaweed hasn’t seemed to stem the flow of H&K guns to a militia accused by everyone including the US of committing genocide. (H&K guns also fill the arsenals of the US Dept of Homeland Security, US Navy Seals & the FBI amongst others).
H&K have a ‘strategic partnership’ with the world’s largest mercenary company Blackwater. H&K supply the guns to the Iraqi and Afghan puppet governments, and Blackwater provide the training.
There was a plan for H&K to produce special edition ‘Blackwater’ weapons – complete with the Blackwater logo on them. However, after Blackwater made the headlines for killing 17 innocent Iraqis (not the first time that Blackwater have killed innocent Iraqis, but the first time that it made the news in a major way), the plan was shelved.
Interestingly, local media also came under pressure; Trent FM, who had shown some enthusiasm about reporting these demos, received a word in their ear from both H&K’s press office as well as the police, warning hacks that it would be ‘irresponsible’ to publish the fact that H&K has a warehouse full of weapons in Nottingham, as it may prompt criminals to try and steal them.
In response the campaigners pointed out to the radio station that H&K’s address was published at Company House, as well as in several business directories. About the radio station being leaned on, the campaigners said that “If the security policy of H&K and Notts police relies on no-one finding out the company’s location, then clearly it is they who are irresponsible, not our campaign and not the media. A large warehouse stocked with high-power assault rifles and submachine guns with inadequate security to prevent a robbery is clearly a significant danger to the public, and publicising such a danger is very much in the public interest.”
The H&K warehouse, located at Easter Park, Lenton Lane, Nottingham, is next to the ‘Trent Vineyard’, an evangelist church that held the funeral of Danielle Beccan, a 14 year old girl who was killed in a drive-by shooting. At her funeral service the then mayor of Nottingham said, “Guns have no place at all in our community – not in Nottingham, not in my city nor any other city in Britain.”
One campaigner said: “The arms trade relies on secrecy. Most people abhor the idea of factories and warehouse making and selling weapons around the world, and arms companies know this. By lifting the lid on the business, anti-arms protesters can make a put the pressure on the government/corporate killing machine to stop killing for profit.” [schNews]
As you can see from the front board, Unit 3 is simply ‘let’. One feels that they might just be a little embarrassed about their presence on the Easter Park Estate. Previous occupants had been the Royal Small Arms Factory. Even during wartime, they had a sign on the gate, saying who they were! Another example might be British Aerospace Works at Filton, Bristol. Again, they say who they are on the gate. This lot still remain shy of folks knowing of their activities. In my opinion, lights need to be shone into dark corners .
To highlight the link between the arms trade and refugees, Shut Down H&K and No Borders Nottingham held a demonstration on Saturday 29th November at 12:30 on Market Square in Nottingham called “FULL CIRCLE – from weapons to wars to refugees”.
Full Circle Demo: From weapons to wars to refugees. Market Sq. Nottingham
There was a good turnout, in spite of the freezing weather. Leaflets handed out, drums banged, speeches made. and banners displayed. Further, to highlight their concerns, some folks held a “die-in” to help illustrate their worries for the violence attributed to the arms trade and its consequences.
Shut Down Heckler & Koch Campaign
Demos continue at Heckler & Koch weapons HQ in Nottingham
Further Demo at Heckler & Koch weapons HQ in Nottingham : Pix 1
Further Demo at Heckler & Koch weapons HQ in Nottingham : Pix 2
Another Demo at Heckler & Koch weapons manufacturers HQ in Nottingham
Demo at Heckler & Koch weapons manufacturers HQ in Nottingham
Surveillance at Demo at Heckler & Koch weapons manufacturers HQ in Nottingham
Protest at Heckler & Koch weapons manufacturers HQ in Nottingham : Pictures
‘Die-In’ at Nottingham University to protest at un-ethical investments
Nottingham University Student Die-In :: to protest at un-ethical investments
Informationen zu Waffenproduktion und Rüstungsexporten
Auch im Dezember: “Shut Down H&K” in Nottingham
Am vergangenen Montag, 8. Dezember 2008, haben britische AktivistInnen der Kampagne “Shut Down Heckler & Koch Nottingham” ihren allmonatlichen Protest vor der H&K-Niederlassung in der mittelenglischen Stadt Nottingham abgehalten. Dabei präsentierten sie als Zeichen der internationalen Solidarität auch ein Plakat mit dem Logo des Deutschen Aktionsnetzes Kleinwaffen Stoppen (DAKS).
“Shut Down Heckler & Koch” in Nottingham by Roman Deckert
Translation from the newsletter of the German Action Network to Stop Small Arms (DAKS), 11/2008
On October 14th, 2008, activists of „Nottingham against Militarism and the Arms Trade” in the Mid-Eastern English city protested against the British subsidiary of the German small arms producer Heckler & Koch (H&K). About forty protesters staged a colourful demonstration at the gate of the industrial Eastern Park to demand: „Shut Down H&K”.
The Campaign „Notts Anti-Militarism” has been organising such protests for more than a year and is doing so now on a monthly basis. The presence of H&K in Nottingham causes particular outrage since the city is notorious for its high rate of gun crimes. It is all the more grotesque that the peaceful demonstrators are frequently confronted by a massive number of police equipped with H&K weapons. The activists react to the photo-surveillance that the „security forces” exercise by publishing photographs of the police observers on the internet.