Power station protest ends with arrests

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The Independent Online

A climate change protest being staged on top of a power station chimney came to an end today.

The nine environment activists who remained at Didcot Power Station, Oxfordshire, after breaking into the site on Monday came down of their own accord in the early hours of this morning.

The four women and five men, who spent two nights on the emissions chimney, were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass, Thames Valley Police said.

A further 11 people who staged a protest at the site's coal conveyer had been arrested on Monday.

A spokeswoman for RWE npower, which owns the site, said: "We can confirm that the nine protesters that were at the top of our chimney stack came down of their own accord at around 4am this morning.

"We are relieved that they have come down safely."

The RWE npower spokeswoman said she believed the nine protesters left the 200m tower because they "got tired".

She added: "They hadn't managed to affect our running. We were still generating power."

The group, who met at the Camp for Climate Action earlier this year, used power tools to cut through gates at the power station.

Referring to security measures in place at the site, the spokeswoman added: "We were going through a full security upgrade with enhanced fences and lighting. It was unfortunate it wasn't completed when the protesters turned up on Monday."

Amy Johnson, a 20-year-old student from Oxford, said last night the group was in "good spirits" and that they were planning to stay on the chimney until their provisions ran out.

She said the action was being taken because RWE npower plans to build 30 more coal-fired power stations.

Thames Valley Police officers were at the site collecting evidence today.

A spokesman for the protesters said the decision to come down from the chimney was taken after the first arrests were made.

He said: "The chimney team felt they had successfully shone a light on npower's plans to build new coal plants in Britain and across Europe."

One of the protesters said before his descent: "I'm a qualified builder and will be 52 in a week's time.

"I never thought in my life I would do anything like this. It's amazing how working with committed people can empower you to confront these massive companies and help force real change in the world."

Another protester, a receptionist from Essex, added: "If we wait around for our Government to tackle climate change without any real intentions, we will not have any hope for our future. This is about acting now, and further action must be taken."