Ratcliffe power station

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Ratcliffe Power Station is a 2,000-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station owned by E.ON UK in Nottinghamshire, England.

Location

The map below shows the plant located in Ratcliife on Soar, Nottingham.

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Background

It comprises four 500 MW subcritical units commissioned in 1968. This power station is fitted with a Flue Gas Desulphurisation unit to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions.[1][2]

Protest against Ratcliffe plant

On August 31, 2009, Climate Camp activists announced a planned action against E.ON's Ratcliffe coal-fired power plant. The protesters hope to shut down the plant in a mass protest scheduled for October 17 and 18, 2009. Activist Charlotte Johnson said, "We will shut Ratcliffe by land, water and air. People will break into the plant and occupy the chimney. Coal power stations must be shut permanently if we are to have any chance of stopping catastrophic climate change." A spokesman for E.ON said the company will work with police to ensure the plant remains in operation. Ratliffe ranks 18th on a list of the most polluting power plants in Europe in 2008.[3]

During the action, hundreds of protesters tried to break through a security fence surrounding the plant. Police arrested more than 50 activists.[4]

Allegations of police suppression of evidence

On May 24, 2011, The Guardian reported that the twenty environmental activists convicted of "conspiring to shut down" Ratcliffe are to launch an appeal after allegations that police suppressed potentially crucial evidence from an undercover officer. The 20 were found guilty of plotting to break into Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station following a three-week criminal trial and police operation costing £700,000. But their convictions were thrown into doubt after revelations that they had been infiltrated by Mark Kennedy, a police spy who was alleged to have played a central role in the organising the plot. Revelations about Kennedy in the Guardian earlier in 2011 led to four inquiries amid admissions from police chiefs and ministers that the infiltration of protest groups has gone "badly wrong". In response, an independent review looked into the convictions, and the conclusion prompted Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, to telephone the activists' barrister offering to provide assistance in overturning the convictions.

In one inquiry, the Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the allegation that the police deliberately withheld evidence from court.[5]

In July 2011, the convictions of the 20 protesters for trying to shut down the UK's second largest power station was quashed by the Court of Appeal. The ruling came after it was revealed the group had been infiltrated by undercover police officer Mark Kennedy, who was said to have spent seven years working undercover in the green movement across Europe. The case was heard by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, sitting with two other judges. Lord Judge said the convictions were unsafe "because of significant non-disclosure" of material "which would have been supportive of the defence case."[6]

Estimated cost of air pollution from plant

A 2011 analysis by the European environment agency (EEA), 'Revealing the costs of air pollution from industrial facilities in Europe,' estimates that air pollution from industry costs Britain £3.4bn-£9.5bn a year in health and environmental damage. When CO2 costs are included, the figure rises to £9.5bn-£15.5bn. The industrial facilities covered by the analysis include large power plants, refineries, manufacturing combustion and industrial processes, waste and certain agricultural activities. Emissions from power plants contributed the largest share of the damage costs (estimated at €66–112 billion).

A small number of individual facilities cause the majority of damage costs. Three quarters of the total damage costs were caused by the emissions from just 622 industrial facilities – 6 % of the total number. Longannet Power Station, Cottam, Ratcliffe Power Station, and West Burton power stations together emit more than 30m tonnes of CO2 and other pollutants and cost the economy up to £2.3bn a year.[7]

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. United Kingdom Quality Ash Association, "Power Station Locations and Capacities", undated but after 2006, accessed June 2008.
  2. Mott MacDonald, "UK Coal Production Outlook: 2004-16", Department of Trade and Industry website, Final Report March 2004. See Appendix E: UK Coal Power Stations, page E-1 at the end of the report.
  3. "Protesters target E.ON's Ratcliffe plant," Reuters, August 31, 2009.
  4. James Kanter, "Clashes and Arrests at Coal Plant Protest in England," New York Times, October 19, 2009.
  5. Matthew Taylor, "Ratcliffe power station activists launch appeal over undercover evidence" Guardian, May 24, 2011.
  6. "Ratcliffe power station protesters cleared on appeal" BBC, July 19, 2011.
  7. "Industrial air pollution cost Europe up to €169 billion in 2009, EEA reveals" European environment agency, Nov 24, 2011.

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