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Climate change activists board freighter

PUBLISHED: 16:35 24 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:47 23 August 2010

22 June 2009 Greenpeace campaigners stop 20,000 tonne coal freighter to block shipment to Kindsnorth Power Station in Kent, UK.
photo Jiri Rezac/Greenpeace

22 June 2009 Greenpeace campaigners stop 20,000 tonne coal freighter to block shipment to Kindsnorth Power Station in Kent, UK. photo Jiri Rezac/Greenpeace

Jiri Rezac/Greenpeace

TEN climate change activists climbed onboard a coal freighter in protest against plans to build the first coal-powered station in the country for 30 years. A group of Greenpeace campaigners boarded a boat bound for the E.On owned Kingsnorth Power Station

TEN climate change activists climbed onboard a coal freighter in protest against plans to build the first coal-powered station in the country for 30 years.

A group of Greenpeace campaigners boarded a boat bound for the E.On owned Kingsnorth Power Station as it travelled along the River Medway at about 11pm on Sunday.

Travelling in speedboats the protesters pulled up alongside the vessel and scaled the 15 metre hull with climbing ladders in an attempt to stop the payload of coal being delivered.

Six people were arrested on charges of conspiring to commit criminal damage and unauthorised presence on a ship shortly afterwards. Four other protesters remained in the crows nest in the bow of the vessel until they were served with an injunction and arrested at around 6.30pm on Monday. They were being questioned by police as the Times was going to press.

Speaking just before leaving the freighter protester Sarah Shoraka said: "We climbed onto this ship, and stayed onboard throughout the night and all day, because coal is the most climate-damaging fuel known to man. If we keep burning coal, we can't beat climate change.

"But Ed Miliband's new policies would still allow E.On to build the dirtiest new power station in Britain for 30 years."

A spokesperson for E.On said: "We are pleased it's come to a close without any injuries, but what they were doing was incredibly dangerous and irresponsible.

"We need to be having a proper debate on these issues, not playing around on large vessels."

The power station at Kingsnorth has been a source of controversy since E.On announced plans to build a bigger coal-fired generator to replace the existing facility last year but E.On say, if approved, the new Kingsnorth generator would be 20 per cent more efficient than the existing one.

Last August lobby group Camp for Climate Action staged a 12-day protest in which 1,500 eco-campaigners, many from north Kent, descended on the Hoo Pennisula to protest against the plans.

The protests are set to continue as action group Kingsnorth Climate Action Medway (KCAM) is planning to form a human chain around Kingsnorth power station on July 4.

KCAM campaigner James Willis said: "Coal is the single most polluting way of generating electricity that we have. We here in north Kent have the potentially hugely polluting Tilbury and Kingsnorth coal fired power stations proposed on our doorstep.

"If we do not massively reduce our carbon emissions immediately, the consequences will be disastrous not only for poor countries across the world, but also for the UK and for all of us here in Kent.

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