Stop New Nuclear
Stop New Nuclear is a new alliance of national and local anti nuclear groups campaigning against the construction of new nuclear power stations in Britain. After years of lobbying and consulting, the government approved eight sites for nuclear new build in Britain on 23 June 2011, and the approval of parliament was given in July 2011.
In the last years, anti nuclear groups have campaigned forcefully against nuclear new build in this country, using petitions, lobbying, participation in government consultations, and legal rallies and demonstrations – to no avail. With the decision of the government and the parliament on the National Policy Statement on nuclear power generation, it is clear that the government is pushing for nuclear power.
Stop New Nuclear adds to the traditional campaigning of a range of anti-nuclear groups a new campaign of civil resistance. We are convinced that civil disobedience is not only needed, it is justified. The revelations in early July 2011 of a coordinated public relations campaign between the nuclear industry and different government agencies to limit the impact of the catastrophe of Fukushima show that there is little chance to make our voices heard without resorting to nonviolent resistance. Therefore, we are calling for a non-violent blockade of Hinkley Point nuclear power station on 3 October 2011.
Why Hinkley Point?
Hinkley Point is the first of eight proposed sites for nuclear new build to go ahead. EDF (Electricity de France), the owners of Hinkley Point, put in an application for preliminary works for its new nuclear power station in late November 2010, involving pre-construction activity across an area of more than 420 acres stretching from the Severn Estuary to the village of Shurton, filling in a beautiful valley and even starting excavation of the power station foundations down to a depth of up to 11 metres. On 28 July 2011, EDF was given permission for the preliminary works, although the permission for building the two new reactors is still outstanding. For more information, go to Stop Hinkley's website at http://stophinkley.org/PETITION.htm or at our website at http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk.
EDF announced that it aims to put in an application for the nuclear power station at Hinkley Point to the Infrastructure Planning Commission in October. This shows how important it is that our blockade on 3 October is big enough to provide a strong signal to government and EDF that we will not rest until they give up their plans for nuclear new build in this country (and elsewhere).
On 3 October 2011 we will – with hundreds of people – nonviolently blockade the access to Hinkley Point nuclear power station for one day. Should the police try to prevent us from getting onto the access road to Hinkley Point, or from getting in front of the gate, we will blockade the access road as close to the power station as possible.
The blockade will be organised democratically, based on affinity groups (groups of friends or people who joined for the action – more below) and consensus decision making. However, everyone is welcome, whether he or she is part of an affinity group or not.
The blockade is on a road, and therefore accessible for wheelchair users, who are welcome to join.
While the blockade will be the key focus, there will be plenty of roles and activities for people who do not wish to risk arrest. In and around the blockade we want to create a fun and life-affirming atmosphere, so bring music instruments, stuff for juggling or other things that help to create a joyful atmosphere.
Everyone who is anti-nuclear can come and join us on the day to express their opposition in many different ways. The blockade will be inclusive, allowing people from all walks of life and with a wide range of experience in non-violent action – or no experience at all – to participate. Together we want to create a safe environment for everyone, built on trust for each other, but also on our determination to stop nuclear new-build.
Chronology of the weekend
This is a rough outline of the different events of the weekend before the blockade.
Friday, 30 September
Setting up of the camp near Bridgwater/Hinkley Point. Please register for the camp at http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk/register to receive information on where the camp is.
Saturday, 1 October
1pm-4pm: Demonstration against new nuclear in Bridgwater. Gather at the EDF offices in Kings Square and march to Cornhill.
5pm: First meeting of the spokescouncil in the camp
7pm: Vegan dinner in the camp at a reasonable cost.
7.30 pm: Nonviolence trainings begin. Acoustic music performances in the camp (bring your instruments)
Sunday, 2 October
8-11am and 2-5pm: non-violence training workshops
3-5pm: legal observer/legal support workshop
8pm: Last updates and legal infos
During the day: meetings of the spokescouncil, as and when needed
Vegan food available in the camp at a reasonable cost.
Monday, 3 October
From 7.00am: Blockade of Hinkley Point nuclear power station
Afternoon/evening: evaluation and de-briefing meeting in the camp.
Vegan food will be provided in the camp at a reasonable cost.
Tuesday, 4 October
Departure, taking down the camp.
We will be providing non-violence training in the weeks and months before in different places around the UK, and on the weekend before the blockade in the camp near Bridgwater/Hinkley Point.
Non-violence training is a way to explore how to take non-violent direct action. During the training different forms of blockading – from sitting in the road to locking on to each other – will be explored, so that all participants can experience how it feels, and can make a decision about what kind of blockading feels right for them.
During the non-violence training, the concept of affinity groups – groups of 5-10 people who (get to) know each other, who trust each other and who go through the action together – and of consensus decision making will be explored and practised.
During the action, the different affinity groups will coordinate their actions and decisions using consensus and the model of a spokescouncil, to which each affinity group sends one spokesperson. In the days before the action – in the camp – the affinity groups present will make decisions about the details of the blockade via the spokescouncil.
These guidelines spell out the objectives, the basis of nonviolence and the principles of decision making and serve as the foundation of our actions during the blockade.
Within our nonviolent action, we want to act jointly according to the action guidelines below. This does not mean that everyone has to accept these guidelines as their own world-view – they are only an agreement for this action.
No use of violence
We are committed to acting always in a way that causes no harm to ourselves or others. We ask that everyone taking part in this action respect and follow these guidelines. The basic principle is respect for each person and the dignity of human beings. This means both, the exclusion of violence against persons, but also restraining from treating the 'opponent' in an insulting or discriminating way. The distinction between the person and the role a person plays allows us to accept the political opponent as a human being and to oppose him/her in a dialogue about his/her role as a representative of the system we criticise. During our action we will not carry any kind of weapon. We will also clear the blockade to allow emergency vehicles (fire or ambulance only – not police) in or out of the power station and then resume the blockade afterwards.
Highest possible safety for everyone involved
To provide as much safety as possible for everyone involved, we recommend you organise yourself in a like-minded group (an affinity group) for the blockade. These are groups of 8-10 people who know each other and will watch out for each other, being aware of each others limits, fears and objectives. This provides safety and close communication and support during the action and prevents individuals getting lost in the mass of people.
No drugs or alcohol
In order not to put ourselves or others at risk because of careless behaviour or limited awareness during an action, we agree to refrain from using substances that can alter our senses before and during the action.
Grass roots democratic structure
One of our nonviolence aims for the blockade is to act in solidarity and respect each other as equals. i.e. all members of the group have the same chance to take part in the decision making process.
We will therefore attempt to take decisions by consensus. This means taking decisions which everyone in an affinity group can accept and finding solutions which allow us to be able to act as a group, and in which everyone takes the same responsibility for the decision. Consensus can also mean that different actions can take place, if we cannot agree on one action but can agree on several.
In order for all the people at the blockade to make joint consensus decisions we will work with a spokescouncil system. The spokescouncil is the body in which ideas, proposals for action and organisational issues are presented. Each affinity group sends one representative to the spokescouncil which exchanges information and opinions and makes decisions that affect the whole group.
One of the characteristics of nonviolent action is that action plans are announced publicly in advance. Nonviolent action is a public action, which also provides the opportunity to express our position to the general public. Each person decides for themselves if they are willing to carry the personal consequences of such an action (i.e. the risk of arrest, prosecution).
A constructive counter-proposal
Nonviolent action includes offering constructive counter-proposals to the policies we are criticising and opposing. Proposed alternatives to nuclear power are the use of renewable energy, energy saving and reduction, return of energy production and distribution into our local communities under democratic control, and generally much more respect for life on earth. In relation to our action, we are practising working together democratically; the means are the end.
While we encourage everyone to come to the camp in the days before the blockade, we are also aware that not everyone has the time or is able to camp. For the latter group we are organising accommodation with other people locally, to allow as many people as possible to arrive early for the blockade, and to take part in the training and decision making in the camp.
However, if you are unable to arrive early, you should not feel discouraged from participating in the blockade, provided you organise your own transport. You should attempt to arrive at Hinkley Point at 7am, but feel free to join in any time during the morning of 3 October.
The camp is not only a space for sleeping and eating (vegetarian and vegan food will be available), but it is also a place to practice our alternatives, and to participate in non-violence training. If you are not (yet) part of an affinity group, we will help to form affinity groups during the non-violence training workshops in the camp.
Please note, the camp is an alcohol and drug free zone. Children are very welcome, but we have no capacity to provide any specific facilities, so make sure your children have plenty to do.
As there are sheep nearby, dogs are not allowed on the camp site.
In order to help us to plan food and other activities, we encourage everyone to register for the camp at http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk/register.
We also ask you to contribute to the camp costs. We suggest a donation from £5-£20. The kitchen will need to cover its costs too – they will need donations.
What to bring to the blockade
The police may not attempt to clear the road immediately so please come prepared for the whole day (or longer!!)
- Warm and waterproof clothes.
- Something to sit on (a cushion in a sealed plastic bag or an old carry-mat).
- Food for you and to share.
- Thermos flasks.
- Any medication you are taking in a clearly labelled bottle or box.
- Musical instruments.
- Banners, or material for banner making.
- A bust card with legal support phone numbers will be available on the website nearer the date and from support teams at the gate.
- The spirit of hope and resistance.
What NOT to bring to the blockade
- Alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Anything that might be mistaken as an offensive weapon, for example penknives.
- Anything you don’t want the police to see such as address books, mobile phone contacts, etc.
- A negative attitude.
Legal observers and legal support
Stop New Nuclear will be organising legal support, providing bust cards and a detailed legal briefing. It would be helpful for each affinity group to have a person acting as legal observer, who will be part of Stop New Nuclear's legal support team.
The legal support team cannot give legal advice. If you want legal advice, ask a lawyer.
Legal observers should:
- record all arrests where possible, including the name of the person(s) arrested; the number(s) of the arresting officer(s); time of arrest(s); reason for the arrest(s) and any other relevant details, including if there is any use of excessive force or other unlawful behaviour by the police.
- provide this information to the legal support team.
Legal observers should not liaise with the police. There will be a police liaison team on site.
There will be a workshop for all legal observers on Sunday afternoon from 3-5pm in the camp.
All legal observers need to bring a pen and paper and a mobile phone in order to contact the legal support team. Please send the name and mobile number of your legal observer to the legal support team at email@example.com before 21 September 2011, and come to the workshop in the camp on Sunday afternoon.
Legal observers do not enjoy any special protected status.
The legal support team will contact police stations, arrange lawyers if necessary, and keep a record of all arrests, places of detention and information about releases and arrange pick-ups from police stations.
Stop New Nuclear has a police liaison team, whose task it is to liaise with the police, but not to negotiate. The police liaison team is able to raise issues of unlawful police behaviour with the police, and will communicate demands from the police to the spokescouncil. The police liaison team mainly functions as a communication channel between the police and the participants of the blockade, via the spokescouncil. It does not take decisions on its own.
A first meeting with representatives of Avon and Somerset police took place in Bridgwater on 12 August 2011. The meeting was held in a friendly atmosphere, and the police liaison team repeatedly stressed the non-violent character of the action. We raised questions regarding parking, tea stall and loos, and a safe assembly space for people who do not want to risk arrest. Updated information will be available on our website and will be sent to all pledgers via our newsletters.
After the blockade finishes
If you have not been arrested: After the blockade, there will be a de-brief and evaluation meeting and a social space in the camp, where you will also be able to get some food and to meet with everyone else.
You are welcome to find a place to sleep in the camp, and to travel back in your own transport when it suits you and your group. We will organise shuttles from the camp to Bridgwater train and bus station when needed, but will rely on the help of drivers and car owners, as pick-ups from police stations will be the main priority.
Make sure you know when your transport is due to leave and where it will be leaving from. Please remember to collect all your baggage and to always have it labelled.
If you have been arrested: When you are released there will be people outside the police station to collect you and to take you to the camp. Please tell the driver your name, whether you have been charged (and what you have been charged with), cautioned or released without charge. You should leave contact number, email, and your court date, if you wish us to follow-up on your case, and stay in touch.
Be careful not to book a return journey early if you intend to risk arrest, or if you intend to wait for someone else who is risking arrest. We hope you will join in the de-briefs and enjoy the food and company. There are places to sleep if you wish.
Information about people who have been arrested: Somebody from the legal support team will be at the camp. They will do their best to get information about your friends and members of your affinity group who have been arrested. Don't ring the legal support number for general enquiries about your friends.
Legal support number: 07887-802879
Basic legal briefing
All actions of civil disobedience carry a risk of arrest, and possibly legal consequences. A more detailed legal briefing is presently being produced, and will be updated as we receive more information which allows us to assess the situation more accurately.
For people blockading the road, the most likely charge is Obstruction of the Highway.
This is a minor offence, and might result in a fine of about £50-£250 (depending on how you plead and whether you have previous convictions) or a conditional discharge, plus court costs (between £30 and £250). Please note that these figures are based on the experience in other courts, as there has been no experience with local courts in relation to nonviolent action.
There are other charges if you do more than just blockading the road, and the detailed legal briefing will give a broader overview of potential charges.
As part of our police liaison we will try to find out whether the police plan to use any public order powers. Updated information will be available on our website and at a legal briefing at the camp.
A more detailed legal briefing will be available on the website by 5 September.
Getting to Hinkley
Hinkley Point is on the Severn Estuary. The nearest town is Bridgwater, which can be reached by train or coaches from London, Bristol, or other major cities.
We will have some mini-buses available to take people to the blockade from Bridgwater and the camp-site but hope that as many groups as possible will come with their own transport. Please be aware that the blockade may cause traffic hold-ups or make certain roads inaccessible.
Anyone with specific or individual access requirements please let us know so we can make arrangements in plenty of time.
For train times and fares please check http://nationalrail.co.uk . If you can bring a bicycle, please do so, as you will be more mobile.
There are direct trains from Bristol to Bridgwater about once per hour.
Trains from London to Bridgwater leave from London Paddington, either via Taunton or Bristol.
To get to Bridgwater in time for the demonstration on Saturday, it will be necessary to take the 11:06 service to Taunton, connecting to Bridgwater at 13:07, with arrival at Bridgwater at 13:18.
There are hourly services from Exeter St Davids to Bridgwater, with a change at Taunton. To get to Bridgwater in time for the demonstration, take the 12:23 service to Taunton, connecting to Bridgwater at 13:07 and arriving at Bridgwater at 13:18.
National Express has frequent coaches to Bridgwater. Check their website for fares and times at http://nationalexpress.com.
From London, a cheaper option are Berry's Superfast coaches, which cost £10 one way or £20 return. They run two services in the afternoon each day Monday-Saturday from Hammersmith bus station to Bridgwater, leaving London at 3pm and 6:45pm. On Friday's, there is an additional service at 9pm. On Sunday's, there are two services, leaving from Hammersmith bus station at 5pm and 8pm. Journey time is 2:35 hrs.
Please check their timetable and contact details at http://www.berryscoaches.co.uk/content/superfast_timetable1.html.
Some local groups will be organising transport. Please check out http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk/transport nearer the time.
From Bridgwater to the camp
Bus 14 runs from Bridgwater to Nether Stowey, on Saturday's about every two hours, with the last bus at 17.14 (timetable until 3 September, so check for updates). You can check the timetables at http://www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/bristol_bath/journey_planning/timetables... . There are no buses on Sundays.
On Monday to Saturday, there are buses from Bridgwater to Nether Stowey Pooles Close and Castle Street at
Bridgwater: 08:45 10:10 12:10 14:10 16:10**) 17:40 (last bus)
Nether Stowey: 09:12*) 10:50 12:50 14:50 16:50 18:20
*) to Nether Stowey, Castle Street only
**) the demonstration will finish at 4pm on Saturday, so that people can catch this bus.
From there it is possible to walk to the camp.
On Saturday, buses leave Nether Stowey (near the camping) for Bridgwater at
Nether Stowey: 10:10 12:10*) 14:10 16:10 16:52 18:22
Bridgwater: 10:54 12:54 14:54 16:54 17:24 18:54
*) We will assemble from 1pm for the demonstration in Bridgwater
We will also organise transport from Bridgwater to the camp, but whoever can make their way on their own – either by using public transport, or with their own car – should do so.
Bridgwater is near the M5, south-west of Bristol. For people who want to come to the camp, please register for the camp to receive instructions on how to get to the camp site.
If you want to co-ordinate your travel, are looking for a car share or have places to offer, please use our travel forum at http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk/travelforum.
Maps are available at http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk/maps.
We need your help!
The action and the camp are organised in a participatory way, and on a small budget. The Stop New Nuclear alliance does not receive funding – for all we do, we depend on your donations and help.
For the time from Friday, 30 September until Tuesday, 4 October, we need:
- Drivers (for shuttles to and from the camp, to and from the blockade, and from police stations on Monday evening), with or without cars
- Legal observers (see above)
- First aiders (for the camp and the action)
- Marquees and gazebos for the camp
Please get in touch with us urgently if you can help! Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0845-2872381.
Organising the action and providing a camp infrastructure costs money that we presently do not have. Unlikely the nuclear industry, we do not receive subsidies – and we wouldn't want to. This means we urgently need your donations, so that we can organise minibuses for the days of the camp and blockade, print fliers, and get all the things that are needed for a successful action. None of us is getting paid – we are all working as volunteers.
You can donate online at http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk/donate, or you can send a cheque made payable to Stop New Nuclear to:
Stop New Nuclear
c/o 5 Caledonian Road
London N1 9DX
All donations will be used for the organisation of the camp and the blockade.
Stop New Nuclear
Email: campaign [at] stopnewnuclear.org.uk
Action Line – 0845-2872381
Legal Support Team
Email: legalsupport [at] stopnewnuclear.org.uk
Court Support Team
Email: courtsupport [at] stopnewnuclear.org.uk
Email: media [at] stopnewnuclear.org.uk
Email: policeliaison [at] stopnewnuclear.org.uk
Email: training [at] stopnewnuclear.org.uk