At 4:30am this morning the Ravenstruther Coal Terminal in South Lanarkshire was shut down with two people attached to a massive concrete barrel lock-on, closing the site to any coal lorry traffic, and the buldozer loading coal onto the sites conveyor was occupied. The action closed the site for 8 hours, and it took specialist cutting teams over two and a half hours to cut through the barrel lock-on. There were three arrests. The action was taken in solidarity with communities suffering the impacts of open cast in South Lanarkshire, and in opposition to Scottish Coal's plans for three new mines in the Douglas Valley.
Here's our press release:
Three Arrests as Coal Operations Halted at Scottish Coal's Ravenstruther Railhead in South Lanarkshire
The Ravenstruther coal rail terminal in South Lanarkshire was shut down for 8 hours today, preventing any access to coal lorries and any loading of coal on to freight trains and resulting in three arrests. Anti-coal protesters descended on to the site at 4:30am this morning, blockading the access road and occupying a buldozer. It is estimated that the action cost Scottish Coal hundreds of thousands of pounds. The coal rail terminal is the main loading site for coal from all the open cast coal mines in the Douglas Valley area . The blockade of work at the site this morning marks the fifth time that activists have prevented coal from being transported from the terminal to Drax coal-fired power station .
Fiona Reed, taking part in the action, said: “We took this action to support communities who are opposing yet more open cast mines in the Douglas Valley. Despite already being one of the most heavily mined places in Europe, Scottish Coal are about to apply for three new open cast sites, expanding their operations massively . The expansion will see Scottish Coal reap the benefits of a development which is wholly at the expense of local communities, who suffer all of the negative consequences of open cast coal mining and receive no compensation .”
Evidence points to the fact that open cast coal mining is seriously impacting on the health of people who are forced to live near them. People living in open casting communities have a hugely increased risk of developing kidney disease, high blood pressure, and chronic lung diseases such as emphysema. In addition to this, communities like Douglas, Glespin and Uddington must suffer noise, dust, HGV movements, impacts on the landscape and ecology.
Despite pursuing every possible avenue available to stop coal mining the voices of locals continue to go unheard by South Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Coal . “In protest to this clear violation of the democratic process, people have been left with no choice but to act as they have at Ravenstruther today” said Annie Smith, a Douglas resident and supporter of Coal Action Scotland .
Angus Cullen, a member of Coal Action Scotland said “Scottish Coal's operations are responsible for vast amounts of carbon being released into the atmosphere. Estimates suggest that mining in the Douglas Valley releases more CO2 every year than the power stations that the coal is burnt at – millions and millions of tonnes. The hypocrisy of the difference between Scotland's emissions reduction targets and the continued expansion of the coal industry show how those in power are more interested in corporate profit than in people or the planet.”
Notes to editors
1. Three open cast coal mines deliver coal to the Ravenstruther coal-rail terminal (including Mainshill, Broken Cross and Glentaggart). Coal from new mining sites proposed for Lanarkshire will also send their coal here. Coal in is taken by truck to the rail terminal where it is then loaded onto coal trains to be transported to power stations in England, such as Drax.
2. The terminal has been the target of 4 actions in the past, see http://coalactionscotland.org.uk/?page_id=1079 The cost of shutting it down for the day is estimated at around £200,000.
3. As part of what they’re calling their “forward strategy”, Scottish Coal have begun a process of applying for 3 new open cast coal mines in Douglesdale, in addition to the 4 such mines are already in existence in the area.
4. “Dig up Douglas?” Letter to The Carluke and Lanark Gazette Editor http://www.douglascommunitycouncil.info/news.asp?intent=viewstory&newsid...
5. Hendryx, M. and Ahern, M.M (2008). Relations between Health Indicators and Residential Proximity to Coal Mining in West Virginia.
Douglasdale Health Study (2009) – An independently conducted Douglasdale study of evidence clearly linking open cast coal mining in Scotland to ill health in the community. Available from:
“Douglas Doctors speak out and write to Gazette (3/9/09) about their health concerns for the local residents regarding the open cast mining concurrently operating in the Douglas Valley”
6.”Mainshill opencast mine granted by South Lanarkshire Council despite more than 650 letters of objection” The Carluke and Lanark Gazette 10/2/09
7. Working with and supporting communities across Scotland, The Coal Action Scotland group exists to challenge the advancement of coal as an energy source by informing people about the dangers posed by new coal, promoting alternatives, working with those involved, and directly challenging new coal exploitation from source to point of use.