Twenty-one people took direct action to stop the dash for gas and
got slapped with a £5m lawsuit. Here’s how you can help them fight back.
On a rainy Sunday night last October, when most of us were
tucked up in bed, these people snuck into West Burton gas power station. Once
inside, they scaled two chimneys and set up camp about 80m
above the ground. Their actions shut the power station for a week, stopping
thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
Each of them knew their actions would have legal consequences and true to form, they all pleaded guilty in a magistrate’s court last week. What
they didn’t expect was a mammoth lawsuit from the power station’s owner.
EDF, the French-state owned energy company, wants £5m in damages. It’s a day’s profit for this company – which made £1.7 billion in profit last year – but a lifetime of debt for these activists.
Tell EDF to drop the lawsuit
EDF says it just wants to be paid back for the delay the protest caused. That doesn’t stack up. The police confirmed in court that the protesters didn’t cause any damage, and the power station was already two years behind schedule. A week’s delay wouldn’t have made any difference.
No, what EDF is really trying to do is stamp out protest.
EDF isn’t just building new gas power stations – which would drive up our bills
and wreck our climate – but it wants to build several new nuclear power
By suing these campaigners, it hopes to deter other people
from taking action to protect our climate.
This isn’t the
first time that big businesses have tried to stifle protest in the courts.
Recently, Shell – whom we’re harrying for their risky Arctic endeavour – tried
to get a court to ban us from shutting down its petrol stations. The judge told
them to get lost, arguing that protests "in
order to be effective will have to be capable of disadvantaging Shell".
He's right - but even if he wasn't, there's still a world of difference between companies taking on
Greenpeace – an international NGO with the time, money and resources to fight
back – and picking on a handful of individuals.
We can’t let EDF get away with this. Please add your name to
31,000 42,000 people who have written to EDF demanding they drop the case – and
tell your friends to do likewise.