Local Grandfather, 80, Protests at open-cast coalmine, Merthyr Tidfil, 3rd May

Patchway-Grandfather-block-access-to-the-minePatchway grandfather Phil Kingston, a member of Christian Climate Action, was in one of the two teams which blocked roads within the UK’s largest open-cast coalmine near Merthyr Tydfil on Tuesday, 3rd May and helped to close the mine for the day. Both teams had the task of going into the mine before the 6 30am shift, lying down in the road and ‘locking-on’ to one-another, thus obstructing vehicles heading towards the part of the mine where coal is currently being excavated. Mr. Kingston said, “I have four grandchildren and am deeply concerned about the scientific evidence which shows that emissions from fossil-fuels, especially coal, are causing extremes of weather across the world. This is happening with less than a one-degree Centigrade increase in temperature above pre-industrial levels. Worse still is that current emissions levels are predicted to lead to three times this level of increase by the end of the century’’.

The two teams were amongst 400 protestors from local and national groups who entered the mine and secured its closure for the day. The action was a part of a world-wide series of protests organised by 350.org  aimed at keeping coal in the ground. The protest was peaceful and no-one was arrested.

Mr. Kingston, 80,  who is a member of Holy Family Church in Patchway, said “As well as concern for future generations, I believe we have a responsibility for the other life-forms with which we share the Earth. Another important aspect of climate change is that the worst of the extreme floods, tornados and droughts are occurring within the tropics where two-thirds of the poorest people live. It is they who are suffering most and are predicted to suffer even more in future.’’ Referring to the concerns of local people losing employment, he said “The day was very helpful in connecting with some of the mine-workers and also with local people who are concerned about pollution from the mine. We want the people there to have work which brings dignity and sufficient income and which also sustains the Earth. My grandfather was a coal miner in the Rhondda. We have knowledge now which he was unaware of, namely that coal is very dangerous for all of our futures’’.

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