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Aberthaw Power Station: at the coalface of environmental activism

Activists and members of the local community gathered outside Aberthaw Power Station in Wales today to protest the use of coal power, and support alternative green methods.

Direct action network Reclaim the Power was one of the environmental campaign groups at the peaceful demonstration, demanding the closure of the coal-powered station due to environmental concerns.

Alongside over a hundred demonstrators, political poet Pete (the Temp) Bearder performed songs at the protest held on a beach in front of the power station.

In addition to highlighting environmental issues, the demonstration also encouraged investment in green jobs to provide a smooth transition for working people in the local area. Around 2,000 jobs could be created in Wales from onshore wind developments.

Robbie Gillett from Reclaim the Power said: “The government must have a meaningful dialogue with the unions and industry about re-skilling existing coal workers for jobs in a clean energy future.”

Marianne Owens from the PCS Trade Union, which represents civil servants, addressed the demonstrators: “We know that there are alternatives to fossil fuels, and we think that there are other jobs that people could be given.”

She said that more people could be employed if alternative technologies were used.

Air quality concerns are well-founded, as the European Court of Justice ruled in 2016 that pollution emissions were not being adequately limited at the power station. With more than double the legal amount of nitrogen oxide released by the power station between 2008 and 2011, Reclaim the Power worries not just about the local impact, but the global effect of carbon emissions.

They said: “Aberthaw sits at the meeting point of all these issues: opencast coal mines blighting communities in South Wales; air pollution choking urban residents in Cardiff, Swansea, Bristol and beyond; and carbon emissions from old coal continuing to threaten the global climate into the 2020s whilst government support for renewables diminishes.”

The UK government has planned to phase out coal power stations by 2025, but environmental groups are increasing pressure for this move to come sooner.

Aberthaw protest
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