Today climate campaigners from ‘Leave it in the Ground’ have occupied the UK Coal’s Lodge House site in Derbyshire by barricading themselves in a disused farm building and taken to the trees on the site of the open cast mine.

Under the cover of darkness activists have secured themselves in the Prospect Farm building, on the site which is about to be devastated by huge machines. Food and supplies have also been taken in for a long term occupation and barricades’ have been set up preventing police form bringing in specialist equipment down Bell Lane, Smalley Derbyshire into the heart of the site. People are locked on by their necks behind the doors preventing force being used to gain entry by police or specialist teams and protesters have claimed squatter’s rights.

At Lodge House today, Andy Green said “We are here because the single greatest threat to the climate comes from burning coal. Coal fired generation is historically responsible for most of the CO2 in the air today – about half of all carbon dioxide emissions globally[1]. Coal form open cast mines is dirtier than that from deep mines, so it is even worse!

Lodge house is owned by UK Coal, Britain’s largest coal company and they plan to extract 1 million tonnes of coal from the 122 hector site. The area is about to be devastated, despite objections form local councils, residents and local environmental groups but the environment Secretary Hilary Benn granted planning permission in 2007 and work is set to commence imminently. New open cast mines are being actively supported by the government and the number of opencast mines going into the planning process and being approved is on the increase.

The Leave it in the Ground, is part of the Network for Climate Action2 and its allies, has seen over a dozen actions take place around the UK including the occupation of a coal train heading for Drax power station. Protests have focused on the companies responsible for runaway carbon dioxide emissions, as well as those promoting false solutions to climate change.

“We are taking action to prevent the coal industry bent on economic growth from destroying our future,” said Julie Lee from Leave it in the Ground. “If Gordon Brown gives the go ahead to a new generation of coal fired power stations beginning with Kingsnorth in Kent, it will undermine – perhaps fatally Britain’s chances of meeting its climate change targets. If Britain is to cut its emissions by 80% by 2050, the eight planned new coal power-fired plants alone will wipe out half of our carbon budget.”

A further Noise demo is planned for 14th July at UK Coal’s Head quarters in Doncaster

[1] Jim Hansen Letter to Brown, 2007 You can view it here: