Socialist Worker

Protest at the Department of Energy and Climate Change

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2161

Around 100 campaigners lobbied the Department of Energy and Climate Change tonight – demanding that the government takes real action to save the planet. The occupation at the Vestas wind turbine plant in Newport added an extra buzz to the action.

Many of those protesting were shocked and outraged at the government's failure to step in to save the plant. Elizabeth Baines, an activist in the World Development Movement, was one of them. “I think the situation is ridiculous,” she told Socialist Worker.

“The government has just published an energy white paper yet at the same time Vestas is closing. The government bails out the banks. Why won't it invest in the only industry that can save the environment and create green jobs?”

There was a widespread feeling that, despite much green rhetoric from New Labour, there has been very little action. Fiona Dear is an activist in the Campaign Against Climate Change. “The government is always saying lots of good things about green policies but it needs to put the money in to show it is serious,” she told Socialist Worker.

“This is a good test of how serious the government is. The occupation is great – it's good to see people fighting back.”

Workers from the Unison, Unite, PCS, NUT and UCU unions were just some of the trade unionists who joined the lobby. Andrew Watson, a member of the UCU in London, is researching the impact of wind turbines. “Ed Miliband says he wants 6,000 onshore wind turbines and as far as I can see this would have no adverse effect on the landscape,” he told Socialist Worker. “I'm shocked that one of just two wind turbine factories in Britain is closing down. There must be a way that the government can intervene to keep it going.

“The occupation is a good way to take non-violent action to save the plant.”

The Campaign Against Climate Change has organised a public meeting in solidarity with the Vestas occupation on Friday evening in London, 6pm at the ULU, Malet Street.

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