No Dash for Gas sentences quashed

IssueNovember 2013
News by David Polden

On 17 October, five ‘No Dash for Gas’ protesters successfully appealed against their sentences of 150 hours of community service. Nottingham crown court reduced their sentences to conditional discharges.

A year earlier, ‘No Dash for Gas’ members had occupied the chimneys of West Burton gas-fired power station in Nottinghamshire to protest against government plans to build up to 20 new gas-fired power stations (see PN 2552-3).

When the 21 climate activists came to trial for ‘aggravated trespass’, they pleaded guilty. Before they could be sentenced, the energy firm that owned the power station, EDF, sued the 21 for £5 million in ‘damages’ allegedly resulting from the plant shut-down during the week-long occupation.

After a public outcry, this claim was withdrawn and on 6 June, the 21 were given surprisingly lenient sentences – five were given conditional discharges and 16 sentenced to 150 hours of community service by a judge who described them as ‘industrious and committed individuals who work and volunteer in your communities’.