Happendon Wood happenings

IssueFebruary 2011
News by Oli

Over the past couple of months THWAC (The Happendon Wood Action Camp) has been a hive of activity, with direct action and community resistance taking place all over the Douglas Valley in South Lanarkshire and beyond.

In November the camp hosted its second gathering and on Monday 8 November, 11 activists entered Mainshill Opencast Coal Site, stopping work on site for an hour by jumping on dumper trucks and blocking the haulage road.

Two days later, an early morning raid on the Ravenstruther Rail Terminal shut down the coal loading facility until the early afternoon. All of the coal from South Lanarkshire’s open cast mines is taken to Ravenstruther by HGV and loaded onto trains to be sent to Drax coal-fired power station in Yorkshire. Two activists were arrested for blocking the access road with concrete lock-ons and two more for occupying the top of the conveyor tower. This was the fourth time that Ravenstruther has been shut down and the camp estimates that it must have cost over a million pounds.

Other Scotland-based coal-related news, a banner was dropped from Clydeport’s landmark gantry crane on the Clyde in Glasgow reading “Nae Coal at Hunterston” on the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice. This was done in solidarity with communities resisting coal around the world and against (Manchester-based company) Peel’s plans for a new coal-fired power station on the west coast of Scotland. Peel own Clydeport which operates the UK’s largest coal importing facility.

A new local residents community action group “STOP! Stop The Opencast Plans” has been established. Activities built up to a mass leaflet drop of over 5,000 flyers covering every house in the area (despite the blizzards) publicising public meetings in Douglas and Lesmahagow about the new open cast proposals (See PN 2527). Resistance to Scottish Coal and South Lanarkshire Council looks set to increase this year.

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