The Happendon Wood Action Camp struggled through a particularly snowy winter but is still going strong. So, what have we been doing these past few months, you might ask? Well, we’ve asked ourselves the same question many times. Here’s what we came up with:
October started off well following the camp’s first gathering and two uncountable actions – a machine was extensively sabotaged at Broken Cross and the haulage gates at Mainshill were d-locked shut, preventing coal from being taken out. To mark the first day of Scottish Coals “consultations”, there was another action at Mainsill with entrances locked shut keeping the morning shift out, the security box was attacked with paintbombs and signs redecorated. On the same night four earth movers, two dump trucks and an explosives handling truck were well and truly immobilised at Broken Cross open cast site.
In other Scotland-based coal-related news at the time, a banner was dropped from Clydeport’s landmark gantry crane on the Clyde in Glasgow reading “Nae Coal at Hunterston” on the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice.On the 12th October we celebrated a victory in Midlothian, with councillors unanimously voting to reject Scottish Coal’s application for a 2 million tonne mine near Cousland. Also in October there was an attack on RPS’s Glasgow offices, where their locks were glued and signage destroyed in a THWAC/Rossport solidarity action.
Towards the end of October the Deadly Coal Tour visited THWAC, where Indonesian activists swapped stories and experiences with communities fighting coal in South Lanarkshire. Later in October, a borehole drilling rig at Glentaggart East doing preparatory work for a new 4 million tonne mine was extensively sabotaged.
In November the second Autumn Gathering took place at the camp. On the Monday of the gathering 11 activists entered Mainshill and stopped work for an hour by jumping on dumper trucks and blocking the haulage road, successfully stopping work all over the site. Then on the Wednesday, an early morning raid on Ravenstruther Rail Terminal shut the terminal down until the early afternoon. This was the fourth time that Ravenstruther has been shut down, and we estimate that it must have cost them over a million pounds by now.
In the last week of November twelve machines including dumper trucks, fuel tanks, a digger and bulldozers were sabotaged at Mainshill, having their hydraulics and electrics cut.
Throughout November much energy went into establishing STOP! Stop The Opencast Plans a new community action group, made up of residents affected by the new open cast proposals in the local area. Activities built up to two public meetings in Douglas and Lesmahagow. With community members fired up and a strong, well-represented action group, resistance to Scottish Coal and South Lanarkshire Council looks set to hot up this year.
This year we have mostly been… in our cosy two-storey communal! Just as well really, as temperatures dropped as low as -24degrees over the last couple of months. Still, despite the weather, frozen water butts, frozen veg, frozen shoes, etc, THWACers had a great Winter Solstice and new year. The next few months will be critical to the campaign, as Scottish Coal hope to have their applications approved and to have started mining at Glentaggart East by April. STOP! have called for a demo at the Council headquarters in Hamilton on the Saturday after the planning applications are submitted fully, and resistance is bound to continue in the area. If you can come to the camp, either on your own or with an affinity group prepared to take action, we’d love to have you stay. Whether it’s doing actions, chopping veg, or handing out flyers, there’s something for everyone at the camp and all help is welcome.