We joined more than 60 people from across the UK and across the climate movement in an #Axe Drax protest at Drax Power Station on Saturday 22nd October.
Ten years since the first Climate Camp at Drax in 2006, the peaceful protest against the power station’s burning of coal and wood celebrated victories along with the on-going legacy of that first Climate Camp and reflected on continuing challenges for the climate justice movement and a liveable climate.
Drax – the UK’s biggest single emitter of greenhouse gases – burns more wood than any other power station in the world (12 million tonnes – 1 million more than the UK produces in total every year) and more coal than any other power station in the UK (6 million tonnes). Drax’s operations cause climate change, forest destruction and human rights abuses.
In return for trashing forests and digging up communities, Drax is receiving massive subsidies when it should have been closed down years ago. It is cashing in on some £1.3 million in subsidies every single day.
Meanwhile, subsidies for genuinely renewable and low carbon onshore wind and solar power and for home insulation are being slashed across the UK. (#AxeDrax protest flier Comprehensive analysis of the issues involved. See also pages 79-80 of Coal Action Network’s Ditch Coal report. For more information on the biomass burnt at Drax and the subsidies Drax receives, see this Drax film and Biofuelwatch’s website .)
The event’s varied schedule included a team of greenwashers cleaning coal and greening biomass pellets, chanting, poetry, a creative range of banners and street-theatre props (including the Drax-osaurus and Drax cooling towers) and a drama about the impact of coal-mining on a community in Colombia (Buried Sunshine). BBC Look North featured the protest in its early evening news bulletin.
Speakers included Deepak Rughani from Biofuelwatch, Ann Harris from Coal Action Network, ex-Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett (who addressed the positive green social alternatives to Drax and a fossil-fuel economy), Dongria Kondh from Yorkshire tree-planting organisation Treesponsibility (who spoke about the first Climate Camp), a parish councillor, Green Party councillors from Calderdale and Norwich and a representative of Frack Free York.
The event gave activists from across the climate justice movement the space to share experiences and ideas.
The protest was part of a series of protests worldwide to mark the Global Month of Action Against Dirty Energy.
Further coverage of the event:
Search tag: Keep them in the ground 2016, Natural Health Service