Tomorrow outside Aberthaw power station, Reclaim the Power, Bristol Rising Tide and United Valley’s Action Group will be with the Coal Action Network to demand “Shut Aberthaw: Green jobs now!”
From 1pm Saturday 28th January at Aberthaw Power Station, Leys beach car park, Limpert Bay, West Aberthaw, CF62 4ZW
100 protesters are expected to march on Aberthaw power station demanding its prompt closure and in support of a just transition to renewable energy in South Wales. We’ll hear from inspiring local campaigners on green jobs, air quality and the battle against opencast coal mining, enjoy hot soup, hear some live music, and have an active legal protest to keep us warm. Dress for cold weather and bring your friends and family.
The groups state that closing Aberthaw would:
prevent an estimated 400 deaths per year from air pollution.
prevent carbon emissions pushing us towards climate catastrophe.
end the suffering of communities living near to opencast coal mines in Wales, and abroad.
Trade union representatives, renewable energy companies, air quality and climate campaigners are all expected to speak at the rally with people travelling from South Wales and further afield including Bristol, and London.
Chris and Alyson Austin, from the United Valleys Action Group and Residents Against Ffos-y-fran say, “We need to put something positive in place of Aberthaw. It is inevitable Aberthaw is going to close. Renewable energy could provide thousands of jobs if only the governments would take the blinkers off and look to the future instead of the past. The UK and Welsh governments need to invest in Green jobs to provide alternative, highly skilled employment and put mechanisms in place now for Aberthaw workers to be re-skilled. You can’t just sling them out. That isn’t fair.”
Coal Action Network argue that dirty, inefficient power stations such as Aberthaw are not needed. A government commission recently gave support to offshore tidal lagoon projects in Swansea Bay which would provide predictable energy using underwater turbines. Onshore wind in Wales could create up to 2000 jobs whilst upgrading the energy efficiency of homes in Wales would create 6,300 direct jobs, slash our heating bills and reduce overall demand for power generation.
Reclaim the Power and the Coal Action Network are trying to engage with unions who represent coal workers, such as Unite, in order to open a meaningful dialogue with them about how we force the government and power companies to plan for a transition for highly skilled coal workers in a system where electricity is generated by renewables.
Local air pollution
Aberthaw is Europe’s dirtiest power station. Nitrogen oxides and particulate matter contribute to respiratory illnesses for people living in Cardiff, Newport, Swansea, Barry, and as far away as Bristol, Poole, Bournemouth and Swindon. Aberthaw was recently found to have breached of European pollution limits for several years.
Patrick Lanham, from Reclaim the Power in Cardiff says, “Communities in this area are all affected by pollution from this one power station. Aberthaw is killing us and RWE Npower are not doing enough to address this tragic fact. Their upgrades, to date, will only reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 20% at best, meaning that 320 people a year will still be killed by air pollution from this dinosaur power plant. We’re calling for investment in community renewables and green jobs accessible to coal-industry workers and the prompt closure of Aberthaw power station.”
Aberthaw is also a major threat to the planet emitting 8.5 million tonnes of CO2 in 2013. The UK Government is currently consulting on closing “unabated” coal power stations by 2025.
Patrick Lanham adds, “The government’s proposals are too slow for communities on the front line of coal extraction and climate change. This demonstration is our submission to the coal phase-out consultation. No more deaths, no more coal, yes to a supported transition for coal workers to clean energy systems.”
See you at Aberthaw tomorrow!