The Camps for Climate Action
gatherings (similar to peace camps
) that take place to draw attention to, and act as a base for direct action
against, major carbon emitters
, as well as to develop ways to create a zero-carbon
society. Camps are run on broadly anarchist
principles - free to attend, supported by donations and with input from everyone in the community for the day-to-day operation of the camp. Initiated in the UK
, camps have taken place in England
at Drax power station
, Heathrow Airport
, Kingsnorth power station
, the City of London
and The Royal Bank of Scotland
Headquarters, near Edinburgh
. During 2009 camps also took place in Canada
The Camp for Climate Action, first came into being in 2006, after activists at the 2005 G8 conference
in Stirling in Scotland mooted the idea.
Much of the material used to create structures for the camp is reclaimed waste from building sites which would otherwise have been sent to a landfill
. Compost toilets
, comprehensive recycling
, grey water
systems and a pedal-powered laundries.
The site of the camp is divided into loosely bounded 'neighbourhoods', most corresponding to geographic region (one exception being the queer neighbourhood of the 2006 camp). Daily consensus-based meetings are held in each neighbourhood, with spokespeople sent to a central meeting.
Power for lighting, radios, mobile phones, sound equipment and laptop computers was supplied by solar panels
and a wind turbine
from recycled cooking oil was available for vehicles. Cooking used conventional propane
In 2007 a satellite up-link was installed, together with a media tent with ten laptop computers,
this was also used to send media to the press as well as Indymedia UK
List of Camps for Climate Action
Climate camps started in the UK but have now taken place in a number of countries
Day of action
On 31 August 2006, up to 600 people attended a protest called Reclaim Power
converging on Drax and attempted to shut it down. There was a 'kids march' to Drax Power Station, with a giant ostrich puppet, made by The Mischief Makers
. Two protesters climbed a lighting pylon at the edge of the Drax site and four others broke through the fence.
Thirty-eight protesters were arrested. The police reported that work at the power plant was not disrupted.
It would later be revealed that police undercover office Mark Kennedy (police officer)
had been involved in the planning for the protests and had been arrested twice during the camp, once at Hartlepool Nuclear Power Station where he locked onto a gate with a bicycle lock around his neck, and a second time close to Draw power station on the day of action, where he was beaten by fellow police officers and arrested for assault.
A 'memorial' to the village of Sipson
which would be completely destroyed to make way for a new runway for Heathrow airport
During the camp there were also protests by Plane Stupid
, who were injuncted from protesting at Heathrow. On 13 August Plane Stupid activists boarded a barge transporting an Airbus A380 wing
and on 16 August at London Biggin Hill Airport
On 19 August, the final day of the camp some 1000-1400 people took part in a 'Day of Action' and 200 people blockaded British Airports Authority
There was a relaxed atmosphere between police and protesters during parts of the camp
BAA's proposed an injunction against the camp.
The ruling was sought under the auspices of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. In the end BAA won a more limited injunction
and the camp went ahead.
In 2007 the police made preventive searches under Section 60
of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
. The Police carried out some searches, including some vehicles, under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2006
, and took photos of protesters entering and leaving the camp.
On Sunday 19 August there were scuffles between protesters and police officers outside the offices of BAA at Heathrow, which were being targeted in a day of direct action
by some of the protesters.
In relation to the 2007 the National Union of Journalists
issued a public statement expressing "deep concern" over a proposed draft policy toward media access during its 2007 event.
The camp media team replied to the NUJ criticism by stating: "The policy is a compromise that attempts to provide reasonable media access whilst respecting participants' right to privacy".
On 9 August 2007 the proposed policy was amended to remove any possibility of blacklisting some journalists or giving sympathetic journalists longer access.
The 2008 camp (51°26′23″N -0°32′54″E
) took place in Kent, near E.ON UK
's Kingsnorth power station
, and run from 4 to 11 August to highlight E.ON's plans to build another coal-fired power station, which would be the first to be built in thirty years in the UK.
The action was also to highlight what is seen as an expansion to the fossil fuel
economy, by corporations and government, and what activists claim is a demand for the opposite by scientific consensus. Furthermore, the camp attempted to challenge the businesses which will profit from the agrofuel
industry, which they see as false solutions to the problems of climate change.
The climate camp, looking towards Kingsnorth power station
On Saturday 9 August the protesters attempted to shut down the power station. The day was organised to highlight the impact on climate change with activists marching to Kingsnorth power station. Violent scenes developed between the police and the protesters.
On 11 August 2008, several protesters from Oxford and Thames Valley Climate Action
glued their hands to the doors of BHP Billiton
's headquarters in protest of the use of coal as a fuel. BHP Billiton is the world's largest coal producer.
1,500 officers were involved at an estimated cost of £5.9m,
there were over 100 arrests
and some 2000 'potentially harmful' items were confiscated
At the time ministers at the time claimed that 70 officers had been injured in the course of their duties, though a Freedom of Information request later showed these included sunburn and wasp stings, and none were caused by protesters.
Before the camp started police claimed they had found weapons hidden in nearby woods which included knives, a replica throwing star and a large chain and padlock. Assistant Chief Constable Gary Beautridge stated that while he believed the majority of the Climate Camp protesters to be peaceful, he was concerned that some had "more sinister intentions".
In June, 2009, the Guardian
released video evidence of alleged brutality by police officers at the camp against two women. They belonged to the campaign group, Fitwatch, who campaign against the use of forward intelligence teams
. They spotted several officers who did not have visible epaulettes
and when they asked the officers to reveal their identities they were arrested.
Camp in the City 2009
Climate Camp in the City 2009 - 1 April 4pm
Camp for Climate Action organisers agreed to meet with police and exchange contact details shortly before the protest. The meeting was arranged by Liberal Democrat
MP David Howarth
, who was to mediate at the meeting which was to take place at the House of Commons
. Scotland Yard confirmed that a meeting was to take place with Bob Broadhurst (police commander) and Ian Thomas (chief superintendent).
The camp, which was intended to last for 24 hours, started at 12:30 pm when a camp was established in a section of Bishopsgate between Threadneedle Street
and London Wall
with tents set up and bunting
across the road reading 'Nature doesn't do bailouts'.
At about 7 pm the police stopped allowing people to enter or leave the protest.
The police advanced on protesters who put their hands in the air and resisted while chanting "This is not a riot"
which is a tactic that emerged over the course of a number of Camp for Climate Action gatherings.
There were scuffles with the police. Within the cordon people carried on playing music and preparing food and until the police began letting people leave at about 11:30 pm
and cleared the area of the last protesters at about 2 am.
Banner on the temporary fence around the camp
The camp at Blackheath (51°28′17″N 0°0′14″E
) was set up on 26 August on BlackheathCommon
, which was the site of the 1381 Peasants' Revolt
and was due to run until 2 September.
The organisers kept the location of the camp secret from the police until the first day of the camp.
About 1000 people arrived on the first day with the police adopting a low-key 'community policing' approach
and using Twitter
for the first time to communicate with protesters
and senior officers held five meetings with protesters to prepare for the event.
A number of protests at locations around London took place during the camp.
Shops and local pubs reported good business and police presence was keep very low profile and unobtrusive.
The Telegraph described it as "the cheapest – and chic-est – date in the summer festival calendar".
Climate Camp TV provided a view of the camp and the associated actions.
Between 17 and 18 October 2009, protesters from Camp for Climate Action, Climate Rush
and Plane Stupid
took part in 'The Great Climate Swoop' at Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station
. The police arrested 10 people before the protest began on suspicion of conspiracy to cause criminal damage.
Some 1,000 people took part, and during the first day groups of up to several hundred people pulled down security fencing at a number of points around the plant.
Fifty six arrests were made during the protest and there were a number of injuries to Police and Protestors, including one policeman who was airlifted to hospital.
A spokesman for E.ON, which was granted a High Court injunction giving police the power to arrest anyone who tried to enter the site, said: "There aren't any winners or losers here. It was a less than peaceful protest. "Protesters were hurt, policemen were hurt and the power station carried on producing energy regardless. "I don't think it added anything to the debate on the UK's energy future."
After the event Julian Baggini
, writing in The Times
, criticised the protest arguing that climate change did not constitute a justifiable reason for civil disobedience.
In response activists said that the urgency of responding to potential extreme climate change did indeed provide sufficient justification.
The camp was set up on 18 August in the grounds of The Royal Bank of Scotland
, near Edinburgh
, to protest against the banks involvement in financing environmentally damaging activities, particularly Canadian Tar Sands
and ran until 25 August.
The organisers took the site the day before the publicly announced date, in order to avoid the police. Actions took place across the week against RBS, and other companies involved in environmentally damaging industries, as well as various workshops on a range of environmental, social and climate change issues:
A number of protests at locations around Edinburgh took place during the camp.
Climate Camp TV provided a view of the camp and the associated actions.
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Last edited on 8 April 2021, at 05:47
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