No to new coal

No New Coal - No Kingsnorth

cyclists pass drax power station

Spot the carbon criminal: cyclists pass Drax, the largest coal-fired power station in Europe, en route to Shared Planet

Kingsnorth power station

The existing coal power station at Kingsnorth

Thanks for taking the first step in campaigning to stop the government’s proposed new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent. Gordon Brown is facing his first test since pledging to put Britain at the forefront of efforts to combat climate change. A proposal to build the UK’s first coal-fired power station in more than 30 years will land on his desk.

New coal power stations would fly in the face of advice from the world’s top climate scientists, who warn that global emissions must peak and then fall dramatically within the next 100 months to avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change.

Even Mr Brown’s ‘special adviser’ on climate change, Al Gore, said in August: “I can’t understand why there aren’t rings of young people blocking bulldozers and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power stations.”

John Hutton MP, the Minister for DBERR (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform), will decide if Kingsnorth in Kent will see the first new coal-fired power station in the UK for decades.

This should be ringing alarm bells for anyone concerned about climate change because burning coal is the biggest threat to the climate and in the UK would wipe out any progress in cutting greenhouse gas emissions since 1998. Solutions to capture carbon from power plants are at a trial stage and not deployable until the 2020s.

The company behind the power station plans, EON, proposes to spend £1.7bn on two 800MW ‘supercritical’ coal units. It says the plant will be marginally (20%) more efficient than what is there now with a small reduction in CO₂ emissions to 8m tonnes a year. It also says the plant will be ‘capture ready’ in preparation for carbon capture being ‘considered as an option’ at some later date. To this end the proposal sets aside some land.

The UK’s electricity companies are at different stages of planning a series of new coal plants in Scotland, Tilbury in London, Fiddler’s Ferry in Lancashire, Ferrybridge in Yorkshire and Blyth in Northumberland. These amount to c10.6GW of new and entirely unabated coal capacity. This map shows the proposed locations of these new coal plants.

We must call for there to be a public inquiry into Kingsnorth new coal power station in Kent and stop the government’s plans for new coal.

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Coal power: Brown's Legacy?

Coal power: Brown’s Legacy?

Target MPs

It is important to get this campaign to the attention of as many MPs as possible. We feel that we can make this a major political issue that could affect the next election.

In collaboration with other organisations working to stop Kingsnorth, we’ve compiled this list of priority Labour MPs. All these MPs have connections to Hutton or to the Kingsnorth decision.

The second set of MPs to target are Labour MPs in marginal seats. With a general election on the horizon, these MPs will be particularly sensitive to issues of concern to their constituents. By targeting marginal constituencies, we can push coal and climate change onto the election agenda.

Remember, if you’re living away from home at university, you effectively have two MPs, one at home and one at uni. As a resident in each constituency, you can lobby both of them!

When you have lobbied an MP, or if you are planning to, please let James in the P&P office know.

Priority Labour MPs

Nearest P&P Group



Further information


Sion Simon



Margaret Beckett

Derby South


Alistar Darling

Edinburgh South West

Chancellor of the Exchequer


Ann McKechin

Glasgow North

Member of International Development Select Committee


Tessa Jowell

Dulwich & West Norwood

Minister for the Olympics and Minister for London (Paymaster General)


Harriet Harman

Camberwell & Peckham

Minister of State, Government Equalities Office


John Battle

Leeds West

Member, International Development Select Committee


Hilary Benn

Leeds East

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


Patricia Hewitt

Leicester West


Andy Reed



Jim Cousins

Newcastle Central

Member, Treasury Select Committee


Sally Keeble

Northampton North

Member, Treasury Select Committee


Nick Palmer


PPS Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform


Andrew Smith

Oxford East


Martin Salter

Reading West

Member, Home Affairs Select Committee


David Blunkett

Sheffield Brightside


Hazel Blears


Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government


Jim Cunningham

Coventry South

PPS Department for Work and Pensions

Volunteers needed

Ed Balls


Secretary of State for Department for Children, Schools and Families

Volunteers needed

Caroline Flint

Don Valley

Minister of State for Department for Communities and Local Government

Volunteers needed

David Milliband

South Shields

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Volunteers needed

Ian Pearson

Dudley South

Minister of State for Science and Innovation

Volunteers needed

Jonathan Shaw

Chatham and Aylesford

Local MP to Kingsnorth and Minister at DEFRA (Minister for the South East)

MPs in marginal seats

Download this list of Labour MPs in marginal seats

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How to Lobby your MP

What to ask MPs to do

  1. Meet with, or write to, John Hutton to lobby him in person on Kingsnorth.

  2. Sign EDM 1019 calling for an inquiry into Kingsnorth.

The most important thing is that your MP raises the issue directly with John Hutton. Even if your MP doesn’t agree with you, they have an obligation to pass your concerns as a constituent onto the Minister.

The most effective way to lobby your MP is to meet with them face-to-face. However, if you do not have time to do this, the next best thing is to write to them. A hand-written letter will get more attention than a typed one, and a letter in the post will be more effective than an email.

Write to or email your MP.

All MPs have the same address. Send your letter to:

MPs name
House of Commons

If you only have time to email, you can use the Write to Them website, where you can enter your postcode and email directly from the website.

We’ve produced a template letter with some key points you could make. Your letter will be much more effective if you personalise it, so take a couple of minutes to explain why this issue is so important to you.


EDM 1019 Proposed by Challen, Colin 22.02.2008

That this House recognises the global imperative of tackling climate change; notes the importance of decarbonising the UK’s energy production in order to meet this imperative; is therefore concerned by current plans to develop over 10GW of new coal power stations in Britain, resulting in 50 million extra tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from the UK economy per annum; and asks the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to hold a public inquiry before making a decision on the application for consent to build a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent, in order that full consideration is given to the implications of the proposed development for the UK’s climate change and energy policies.

Meet your MP

Before the meeting

Get an invite: Phone or write to your MP’s office to ask for a urgent meeting, explaining what you want to discuss, the aim of the meeting and how long you will need. Don’t just turn up at your MP’s surgery time because you will only get a couple of minutes if you do (but as a last resort this is an option). Make sure you leave a name and contact number.

Do your homework: If you don’t know your MP, find out about their interests and background on the They Work for You website. Remember you have a home and university MP. See if they have signed EDM 1019 on climate and energy production.

Know your subject: Be well prepared — read the ‘Stop Kingsnorth’ campaign briefing and the Kingsnorth FAQs. Plan the key points that you want to get across and what actions you are going to ask your MP to take, like asking the Minister questions about Kingsnorth. Think about what their counter arguments might be, and how you can respond to them. Contact James in the P&P office for advice by phone (01865 245678) or email.

Be organised: If several of you are going together, have a pre-meeting to work out who will be doing what during the meeting so that everyone plays a part and you don’t end up in public disagreement! Roles could include introducing and thanking, note taking and follow up, main spokesperson — 3-4 people is a good number — you don’t need a huge gang.

During the meeting

Pitch it right: Try to fit what you say to your MP’s level of knowledge — remember that they are probably practiced in looking like they know a lot about the subject, but you’ve probably read far more than them on the relevant issue. It often helps to use humour, and remember to stay polite! Be creative take a petition showing levels of student support or concern.

Take notes: It’s good to have a clear record of what they have said they would do. This will help you give feedback to others, and follow up the meeting. Send these to the P&P office as it helps plan future campaign actions and measure parliamentary support.

Ask the possible: Make sure you have a concrete action to ask your MP to take (they can ask a question in the Commons, sign EDM 1019, write to John Hutton, the minister involved). This enables MPs who support us to show they do so in a tangible way, and forces those who are equivocal to take a position.

Keep on track: Your meeting will be brief, so try to keep on track, and don’t let them change the subject (while remaining polite).

Round up: Finish the meeting by thanking them for their time, reminding them of key points and what they have agreed to do, and ask to be kept informed of any outcomes. Leave them any relevant materials.

After the meeting

Follow up: Send a brief thank you letter summing up key points and actions. Consider sending a press release to any local media.

Feedback: Let members of your group & the P&P office know how it went. Think of anything you will do differently next time. This feedback is essential in monitoring our campaigns and political strategy. Your action is also great to inspire other groups to do the same so get photos and send us your story. We will also share information on which MPs have been lobbied with other organisations to make sure that all the target MPs are lobbied by someone.

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Write to the Minister

hand made valentines cards sent to philip green
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Aberystwyth P&P share the love

John Hutton MP is the Secretary of State for DBERR and responsible for making the decision on whether to hold a public enquiry into Kingsnorth. It would be really effective if you and your group took the time to write letters directly to the Minister.

We’ve produced a template letter with suggested text to personalise and send to John Hutton.

Remember this is a template letter and a hand written letter in your own words would be much more effective than any email. Personalise them, make them creative and interesting. See what Aberystwyth sent Philip Green recently.

You could also send copies of your letter to the Minister to your local MPs to tell them about your correspondence with the Minister and ask for their further help.

Why not write a giant letter and get lots of students on campus to sign it? Then ask your local MP to take it to John Hutton. One group has even had the idea of getting a massive Easter egg with their message written on it!

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Direct Action opportunities

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Coal

Not content as the “Oil & Gas Bank”, RBS-NatWest has begun to look at other polluting forms of energy to profit from - pouring billions into new coal.

In 2007, RBS:

  • co-arranged $4.9 billion for E.ON, the company planning to build a new conventional coal plant at Kingsnorth in Kent.

  • arranged close to $1 billion for construction and operation of two US coal plants at Sandy Creek and Plum Point.

  • participated in $2 billion of credit for Dynegy, the company planning to construct more new coal power plants in the United States than any other company.

Find out more about People & Planet’s campaign to get RBS-NatWest to Ditch Dirty Development.

For general advice, to find out how to get involved or ask about targets and ideas for actions, contact James in the P&P office.

Climate Camp, Kingsnorth Kent

4 -11 August 2008: The Camp for Climate Action will be held at the site of Kingsnorth in Kent. Why not start to form your affinity group today? Call the office for ideas, training and advice on 01865 245678.

E-On HQ next to Warwick University

Warwick University happens to be next door to the headquarters of E.ON the company behind Kingsnorth. Google maps of E.ON HQ Find out if E.ON have a site near you.

Links to previous P&P Actions

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New coal and Kingsnorth in the news

  • Plans for new coal plants under fire Protesters are to launch one of the hardest-hitting environmental campaigns for more than a decade over plans to build a new generation of coal-fired power stations in the UK. The Observer, Sunday May 18 2008

  • Green & Black RHETORIC is a sad fact of political life, and most voters are smart enough to know that grand promises made in the heat of a parliamentary debate or an election battle should be taken with a pinch of salt. Economist, 3 April 2008

  • Coal power policy under attack from top scientists Britain’s leading scientists have told ministers that plans for a new generation of coal power stations pose an unacceptable climate risk, unless greater efforts are made to trap and store the carbon pollution they produce. Guardian, 3 April 2008

  • Why are we going back to coal? This Governments antediluvian policy of backing a new coal-fired power station is absurd. Times, 3 April 2008

  • Back to black: return to coal John Hutton, the Secretary of State for Business, will say that “clean coal” has a crucial role to play in filling Britain’s energy gap for the future. He will accuse the green lobby of “gesture politics” by opposing any coal-fired plants, putting energy supplies at risk and presenting a false “black and white” choice to the public over coal power. Independent, 10 March 2008

  • Coal ‘key to UK’s energy supply’ BBC article on a speech by John Hutton setting out his plans to replace the existing coal station at Kingsnorth and arguing that coal-fired power stations will remain a “key source” of British energy. BBC, 10 March 2008

  • Climate camp to target coal power station The Camp for Climate Action will be held from August 4-11 at the site of Kingsnorth in Kent, where German energy company E.ON is proposing to build the country’s first new coal-fired power station in 30 years. Guardian, 3 March 2008

  • Prince Charles has come out(a bit) on coal saying: “Can we, hand on heart, say that we are really doing enough to improve energy efficiency? Can we possibly allow twenty years of business as usual before coal power generation becomes clean? Are we truly investing enough in renewable energy technologies?” 14 February 2008

  • Mainstream US banks have launched carbon principles which includes an enhanced due diligence procedure for coal plants. Discussions have started about whether there are opportunities that flow from this in the City of London. Citi Group, 4 February 2008

  • Go-ahead for first coal station for 20 years E.ON’s proposals for a cleaner coal power station were given approval last night but could face a public inquiry. The Times, 3 January 2008

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Further Resources

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