Monday, May 16, 2011

Action Against Agrofuels vs Forth Energy



1. STV report

Protesters brought Grangemouth docks to a standstill in a demonstration against plans for a wood-burning power station.

Members of Action Against Agrofuels chained themselves to a tripod, which they had constructed themselves, blocking the Central Dock St entrance to the Forth Port docks.

A human chain was formed by protesters at the South Shore Road entrance, blocking the road from around 7.45am on Monday. A large number of officers from Central Scotland Police were called in to deal with 20 activists.


The South Shore road entrance was reopened at 1.25pm after the human chain was broken up by police.

Four people were arrested for allegedly causing an obstruction at the access road to Grangemouth docks.

Police continued their discussions with those protesting at the entrance at Central Dock Road, where officers could use cutting tools to remove protesters from the 20ft tripod blocking the entrance.

Superintendent Robbie McGregor, Falkirk Area Commander, said: "Our intention was to facilitate a peaceful protest. However the public need to be able to go about their lawful business.

"We have been in negotiations with the protestors all day and they have refused to move. They have blocked roads and disrupted businesses.

"The circumstances have resulted in us taking this necessary action and four people have been arrested."

The Grangemouth docks was closed to all traffic while the peaceful protest at both entrances took place.

Maryla Hart, a member of the protest group, said: "We are blocking both entrances to the Forth Port in protest against plans for the four biomass plants.

"There is no way biomass on that scale could be sustainable, it leads to more rain forests being chopped down, which is immoral.

"The protest has been a massive success as tankers have not been able to get in or out of the port.

"The police have been very cooperative, they have said we have a right to protest peacefully and they were looking to negotiate a time for the tripod to come down, but I don't think that is happening so they're looking to use bolt cutters to bring the people off it.

"There could well be more action like this in the future, so long as the Scottish Government continues to classify biomass as a renewable energy, which it isn't."

The proposed biomass power station, which is understood to be the target of the protest, is part of £1bn plans to establish similar facilities at dock in Dundee, Rosyth and Leith.

Forth Ports and Scottish and Southern Energy are behind Forth Energy, the group that has commissioned the project.

A Forth Ports spokesman said: "We can confirm there is currently a peaceful protest at the port of Grangemouth. We are working with the police to ensure that the effect on the port's operations and its customers is kept to a minimum."

Video also at http://news.stv.tv/scotland/west-central/249783-protesters-chain-themselves-to-gates-at-grangemouth-docks-over-power-station-plans/

2. BBC report

Grangemouth biomass protesters arrested

Four people have been arrested in a protest against a proposed biomass power station at Grangemouth docks.

Twenty protesters from Action Against Agrofuels blocked both the access roads to the port, but police said South Shore Road had now been reopened.

The group said claim the wood-burning power station will threaten forests and worsen climate change.

Forth Energy said the plant would use sustainably sourced fuel and produce low carbon electricity and heat.

The partnership with Forth Ports and Scottish and Southern Energy wants to create four plants in Scotland at Dundee, Rosyth, Grangemouth and Leith.

Central Scotland Police said the activists had been arrested for causing an obstruction at South Shore Road.

'Necessary action'

Officers are still in discussion with the demonstrators at Central Dock Road.

Supt Robbie McGregor, Falkirk Area Commander, said: "Our intention was to facilitate a peaceful protest. However, the public need to be able to go about their lawful business.

"We have been in negotiations with the protesters all day and they have refused to move. They have blocked roads and disrupted businesses.

"The circumstances have resulted in us taking this necessary action and four people have been arrested."

South Shore Road was re-opened at 1325 BST.

Some of the demonstrators locked themselves to scaffolding tripods in the road to block the entrances to the port.

'Minimal impact'

Protester Johnny Agnew, from Glasgow, said: "Vast renewable energy subsidies, paid through all our fuel bills, are being offered for big biomass, which causes more climate change, more deforestation and more pollution. We are effectively subsidising ecocide."

The group said there was "nothing sustainable" about creating new demand for wood and that the plant would lead to health problems because of air pollution.

Calum Wilson, managing director of Forth Energy, said the action "clearly consisted" of people from outside the local area.

He added: "Whilst the impact on shipping operations in the port itself was minimised, their actions today disrupted the local community and the livelihoods of members of the haulage industry across Scotland.

"They sought to bypass the proper planning consultation process and could have compromised safety had there been an emergency at the port."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-13411808


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Biofuels are a wide range of fuels which are in some way derived from biomass.

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