Thursday October 17th 2013
Six activists out of 21 who shut down EDF’s West Burton Gas power station last year walked free from Nottingham Crown Court today, taking the total number of those given conditional discharges to eleven. Lawrence Carter, Hannah Davey, Alistair Cannell, Aneaka Kellay, Ewa Jasiewicz, and David Shakespeare had their sentences for Aggravated Trespass overturned on appeal.
All six had been sentenced to 150 hours community service. None had any previous convictions.
Five protesters received conditional discharges in June when the 21 initially appeared at Nottingham Magistrates Court.
The convictions had been for taking part in the UK’s longest ever power station protest which lasted eight days from October 29th – November 5th of last year.
The protesters, all from the group No Dash for Gas, had camped up two 80 meter Chimney flues for a week in protest at government plans to build up to 40 new gas power stations and make the UK reliant on gas for the next 30 years.
The group argues that the ‘dash for gas’ which also includes drilling for shale gas will exacerbate climate change, crash the UK’s legal obligations to cut carbon emissions and keep millions stuck in crippling fuel poverty.
EDF sued the group for £5million damages but were forced to drop their claim after widespread protest, loss of customers and a successful social media campaign which saw 64,000 people sign a petition in support of the group in less than four weeks.
The remaining ten protesters from the group chose not to pursue an appeal on legal advice.
Ewa Jasiewicz said ‘This is yet another victory for civil disobedience in defence of our climate and against fuel poverty. As energy companies ramp up their prices and millions turn to foodbanks and suffer cold homes and winter deaths, we believe another energy system is possible – one that values people and planet over profit. One that is democratically controlled and based on sustainable, clean energy. Both are not just possible, they are vital if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change and ensure not just real energy security, but social and economic security for all’.
David Shakespeare said ‘Direct action is a vital part of creating social change – this is why, after petitions, letters and all other means failed, we took a stand and shut down the first of up to 40 new gas power stations last year. Whether it’s protecting the Arctic, camping against Fracking or occupying power stations, all these acts of principled protest are part of a movement that is acting to safeguard the future of generations to come. We need to keep the pressure up until governments act in the public interest’.
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