The Shropshire anti-coal protest camp at Huntington Lane, near New Works, Telford, was set up in March 2010 to defend the site against UK Coal’s plans to mine the area set in thousands of hectares of beautiful woodland in the heart of Shropshire’s beautiful countryside.
The 230 acre site near the foot of The Wrekin encompasses part of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is also home to the protected scheduled New Works Ancient Monument. After strong local opposition the application was submitted to a planning inspectorate and in 2009 the Secretary of State, John Denham found in favour of UK Coal.
The flora and fauna of the borough’s largest ancient woodland is considered by some to be some of the country’s most beautiful woodland. Work on the mine is also destroying local habitats and biodiversity in the area.
When finished 900,000 tons of coal will have been extracted from the mine which will result in more than 2,430,000 tonnes of CO2 being released. This is unacceptable, coal is the most carbon intensive of all the fossil fuels and coal fired power stations like the one in nearby Telford (the final destination of the Huntington Lane Coal) are the least efficient type of power station with thirds of the energy they generate being wasted. NASA’s leading climate scientist Dr James Hanson has said “It is moral turpitude, depravity, to build more coal-fired power plants or open cast mines, knowing what we know now. It was one thing to dig coal when we didn’t know the consequences, but quite another thing today”
There has never been any community consent for the mine and even the local council were originally opposed to the idea. In fact the only reason planning permission was granted was when central government stepped in to give the go ahead. There remains strong local opposition to the mine and continued support for the camp.
On October 13th UK coal along with NET (National Eviction Team), who are currently working as security on the site, moved in on the southern part of site (known as Site ‘A’) and have began work, trashing the land with a large array of massive earthmoving vehicles. For 2 days in march they came in the early hours to clear trees and hedge rows on the northern site B, but protesters held up in what is planned to be the haulage road in the forest, extended defences across the feilds to keep UK Coal out.
June has brought the diggers right up to the fence of the land squat, and bailifs threats to start court action from June 5th. A hardcore group of people keep building up defences with the help of 100s of dedicated people coming and going!