Protesters climb power station chimney

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The Independent Online

Activists have climbed a power station chimney in a protest over climate change.

The group, who met at the Camp for Climate Action earlier this year, forced their way into Didcot Power Station, Oxfordshire, at about 5.30am today.



Nine members climbed the steps of one of the chimneys and say they will stay at the power station, run by RWE npower, for "as long as possible". A further 13 are on the station's coal conveyer.



Protester Amy Johnson, a 20-year-old student from Oxford, said: "RWE npower have become at the forefront of trying to push for more coal, and want to build 30 more coal-fired power stations. We're here to tell them that can't possibly happen.



"The government is making a lot of noise about climate change, but they're not getting any results. They've made no steps to reduce carbon emissions.



"We're planning on staying as long as possible. We've got food and water for at least a week, so we're going to be here for the long haul."



A spokeswoman for RWE npower said power generation at the station has not yet been affected.



She said: "We are co-operating closely with the police and our priority remains the health and safety of staff and also protesters.



"Power stations are only safe working environments for people who are trained and supposed to be there."



A Thames Valley Police spokesman said officers were at the scene negotiating with the protesters.

The group on the chimney have taken flags and a banner reading "Climate Justice" with them.



The activists plan to climb the flues at the very top of the chimney before abseiling into them.

They say they are securing the route behind them so they cannot be reached by police or security guards.



Ms Johnson said: "We decided the most powerful place we could set up a climate camp would be at the top of npower's most iconic chimney, and that's what we've done.



"I'd be a liar if said I wasn't scared climbing up this smokestack, but climate change scares me a lot more.



"We've got people locked on to the coal conveyors and people are going over the top and inside the actual chimney.



"There's no way we can be reached, we're in control of this power plant and we're not moving any time soon."



A spokesman for the group said they only entered the power station after checking that such a move would not cause power cuts.



They said they intend to stay for "weeks, not days".

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