After a huge backlash, including 64,000 people signing a critical petition, EDF Energy, the transnational power company, announced on 13 March that it would stop pursuing 21 climate activists for £5m. EDF had claimed that it lost this amount as a result of No Dash for Gas’s week-long occupation of two chimneys at the West Burton gas-fired power station last October (see PN 2552-53 and 2555).
No Dash for Gas activist Danielle Paffard said: ‘A domineering company with an appalling record of pollution was trying to break the climate movement with a lawsuit they thought would silence opposition, but they failed. Our campaign to expose the lie behind the new dash for gas will continue, with a growing movement and new allies.’
Most of the 21 activists, who pleaded guilty to aggravated trespass, will return to court for sentencing in May or June (four may be sentenced on 2 April). They have all been served with lifetime injunctions forbidding them from going onto a number of EDF properties, including nuclear power stations under construction.
In other good news, anti-militarist protester John Catt has won his case at the court of appeal (PN 2547-48), so information about him will now be deleted from a police ‘domestic extremists’ database.
Lord justice Moore-Bick said the ‘systematic collection, processing and retention on a searchable database of personal information, even of a relatively routine kind,’ interfered with the right to respect for private life.
In another court victory, on 8 March, student activists Alfie Meadows and Zak King were finally found not guilty at their third trial for taking part in a student demonstration in December 2010 (see PN 2554).
Hands off the Arctic
On 15 March, the US government said Shell would not be allowed to resume drilling for oil in the Arctic without a comprehensive overhaul of its plans. Greenpeace said: ‘The government should be embarrassed for granting Shell the permits it did this year’.