Early on Thursday morning Scottish Coal, along with the local police, broke through the barricades and Mainshill solidarity camp, though not an eviction attempt it was a potentially worrying development for the ongoing occupation.
Scottish Coal, with Strathclyde police, bought on a number of flat-bed lorries in order to remove machinery, belonging to Scottish coal and Apex, including two drilling right and a dump truck.
Anna Key of the camp said “Apex and Scottish Coal have taken this action because they realise that we’re here to stay. We have prevented Apex from undertaking bore sample drilling work for 3 weeks because this work is essential to the development of the mine which the local community does not want and which will have a devastating environmental impact. Coming onto site with such force demonstrates their desperation and the fact that we have been effective in preventing work from happening. They may have their machines but we’re staying here until we win.”
The eviction is ordered
Earlier in the week, on Monday, 6th July, in what some described as a show trial at Lanark Sheriff Court, an eviction order was granted against the Mainshill solidarity camp in Scotland, which will allow Scottish Coal to begin their open cast coal mining in the ancient woodland. In the hearing the Sheriff refused local people a voice, by not allowing a statement prepared by the Chairperson of Douglas and Glespin Community Council to be read out.
The open cast coal site at Mainshill, in the Douglas Valley in South Lanarkshire, has been occupied by activists and locals. This is in reaction to Scottish Coal being given permission to mine 1.7 million tonnes of coal from the site, despite heavy local opposition to the plans.
The camp exists to protect Mainshill wood, which will be demolished to make way for an open cast mine. Local residents have been campaigning against this mine for several months, and lodged 700 complaints, which have been totally ignored.
The landowner the Earl of Home (Chairman of the private bank Coutts & Co., which is the private banking arm of RBS) and Scottish Coal have failed to engage with Scottish Natural Heritage over the removal of protected species from the area, but despite this total disregard of the law they won at the trial, whilst local people were not allowed to speak. Scottish Coal’s apparently illegal actions of felling trees without a licence were also ignored.
The camp is still going strong and building, despite the recent eviction order and early morning disruption by the police. Now more than ever support is needed, helping fortify the site before the inevitable.
This last Sunday, the Solidarity Camp held a picnic for local people, to which masses of people came. The kindness of the local people was reportedly utterly overwhelming, bringing much needed food and offering to help however they could. The level of support shows how important it is that this time the activists have to win, Scottish Coal and the landowner, the Earl of Home, can not be allowed to tear down an ancient woodland just to dig up more coal.
The activists need people to come up to Mainshill urgently, to continue digging and building as much as possible to ensure a defendable site. They are asking people to please come and help.
Open cast coal mining is the most destructive form of coal mining, as well as producing the worst of all climate changing fossil fuels. With the current push by the government towards new coal fired power stations such as Kingsnorth and Blyth, the opening of this mine would be another step backwards in the fight against climate change.
Check out Mainshill Solidarity Camp for more information on the campaign.
How to find the camp:
Click here…..Google Map
How to get to the camp:
Buses run to Douglas from Lanark and Hamilton. Both Lanark and Hamilton have train and bus stations and are easy to get to from either Glasgow Central Train Station or Buchannon Street Bus Station. From South of the border, going to Glasgow is the easiest way to get to Douglas. Buses from Lanark to Douglas are much more frequent!
Bus from Lanark:
The Service Number 9 (William Stokes & Sons) runs from Lanark – Glespin, stopping in Douglas (service every 49mins past each hour). Get off at the Eggerton Bridge stop just before Douglas – you’ll see the camp on your left just after the M74 underpass!
Bus from Hamilton:
The X50 (Henderson Travel – http://www.henderson-travel.co.uk/) Hamilton-Glespin runs Hamilton, Interchange – Lesmahagow, Church Hall – Rigside – Douglas, leaving Hamilton at 17:05 (one service per day)
The bus will stop before Douglas at Eggerton Bridge and you will see the camp on your left after the M74 underpass. If you miss this stop get off in Douglas and walk North East back up the A70 for 1km and the camp will be on yout right just before the M74.
If you hitch, the camp is right next to the M74 which runs from Glasgow to Carlisle. Get dropped of at junction 12 and walk South West down the A70 towards Douglas and the camp is a few hundred metres on your left. Happendon services are close to junction 12 – if you end up there walk South down the B7078, turn right onto the A70 towards Douglas, which takes you under the M74 and as above.
If you need a ride…
…from somewhere close by call the site phone and they’ll try to sort you out.
Call the site phone on: 07806 926 040