Friday, 17 April 2009

BREAKING NEWS Activists storm Bath energy firm's HQ

Friday, April 17, 2009, Bath Chronicle

Political campaigners have stormed a Bath energy company's offices.

An estimated 13 climate and social justice activists are currently occupying the office of Blue NG, which the campaigners say is planning to build the UK's first biofuel power plants.

Staff from the company - which, ironically, was formed with the aim of fighting climate change - remain in the office.

Banners are being draped from the building and activists are demanding that the company stops investing in biofuels. A number of the activists are on the roof of the building at Ralph Allen House in Railway Place.

The campaigners allege that Blue NG is planning eight power plants which would run on virgin vegetable oil. The activists claim that such power plants will significantly boost the UK's imports of palm oil, which is linked to deforestation and the displacement of rural communities.

Police were called at 11.40am and remain outside the building. Blue NG says it does not want officers to remove the protesters.

A statement by the protesters, who belong to the group Action Against Agrofuels, said: "Blue NG speaks about using rapeseed oil but has failed to rule out using palm oil."

Jess Leeds from the group says: “Hundreds of civil society groups, many scientists and institutions have warned that biofuels are causing more deforestation, more climate change, more people going hungry and more people being evicted from their land.

"Yet Blue NG wants to open up a vast new market for vegetable oil in a country which already uses far more than it can produce, making a bad situation even worse.”

The climate change protesters say Blue NG has been granted planning permission to build its first plant in Beckton in East London and has recently applied for a second one in Southall, West London.

Action Against Agrofuels says it has chosen April 17 for the protest because it is International Day of Action to defend the rights of peasants and small farmers.

The press spokesman for Blue NG said he was travelling back to the office and would make a comment when he had seen the situation for himself.

On its website, Blue NG emphasises its green credentials. It says: "In 2004, a team of environmentally-conscious entrepreneurs formed 2OC Limited, a clean energy company, to fight climate change by utilising the sustainable energy potential of gas pressure reduction stations (PRSs)."