Burning coal is the dirtiest form of energy generation, fueling climate catastrophe, mass extinction, environmental injustice and ecocide. Yet, Banks Group, with support from their friends in the British government, continues to dig it up.
This February, the coal company started preparatory work for another new opencast mine in Pont Valley, triggering resistance from local communities and land defenders all over the country. People came together from across Europe, set up a land occupation and - over many months - took direct actions in a dramatic race to stop the company from fulfilling their planning requirements by delaying their work at every step - successfully.
They built barricades and put their bodies in the way to stop the company from destroying protected Great Created Newt habitat and creating climate chaos. Unfortunately, Durham County Council chose to prioritise corporate profits over ecological and human health and ignored their breach of planning law.
But the battle is not over! We are currently prosecuting Banks Group for committing a wildlife crime and initiated a judicial review of the secretary of state's decision to let the mine go ahead.
Meanwhile, eight individuals who took direct action and blockaded Banks operations were found guilt of obstruction of the highway and police officers, and fined £8,323.
Here is a video Robyn and Tom made the night before they blockaded the construction site, and here is a video of RIch and Andrea's lock-on action.
The excessive and harsh judgments is only the latest instance in the increasing criminalisation of dissent by environmental defenders, demonstrating how the state continues to protect fossil interests at all costs. The high fines are meant to put people off fighting for human and ecological health, but we will not let that happen. We are all protectors. Let's show them our support.