Campaign success: EON shelves plans for dirty coal at Kingsnorth

Campaign success: EON shelves plans for dirty coal at Kingsnorth

Date: 7 October 2009

Late last night, EON confirmed that they had shelved plans for the controversial Kingsnorth coal plant in Kent. The news of the victory spread like wild fire, and the ‘Stop Kingsnorth’ campaigners received it via text at a coal debate in Rochester, hosted jointly by the World Development Movement and the local campaigning group, KingsnorthClimate Action Medway, who have been working closely for nearly two years.

The official line from E.ON was that the delay is as a result of the recession. But we have been arguing all along that we just don’t need new coal power stations in the UK. The recession excuse aside, meeting renewable energy and energy efficiency targets must mean that the ‘the lights will go off’ rhetoric from E.ON and the government has always been nothing more than a public relations exercise to sell coal power to the public.

We have been campaigning to Stop Kingsnorth because the new power station would have emitted more CO2 than Tanzania, and could have caused 20,000 people to become homeless and meant that 100, 000 more people lost their dry water season supply. This news is a massive victory for those people. And it has come about through a massive alliance of diverse campaigns from WDM, Greenpeace, the Women’s Institute, grassroots movements, like the Camp for Climate Action and campaigners from Kent and the global south. It is evidence that the pressure brought by these varied groups and the different tactics employed has made a huge impact that has stopped Kingsnorth.

It’s not yet clear what the government’s official reaction to this news will be, but UK’s already massive and growing climate debt to the global south means that the UK must radically reduce its carbon emissions now. So the UK government must rule out new coal in the UK straight away, ahead of crucial international talks at Copenhagen. We can’t rely on energy companies to do it because of concern about profits in the recession. This is about people not profits.

Photo: WDM supporters at this year’s Mili-band protest