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Mass trespass: schedule, travel and legal update

We’re almost there. Plans for three days of anti-nuclear activity from 6-8th October are taking shape. Here’s the programme so far:

Friday October 5th:
Camp opens from midday. The camp’s location will be provided nearer the time. If you want to register for the camp, please email us at: campaign@stopnewnuclear.org.uk telling us how many people you are planning to bring and when you’ll be arriving. If you don’t want to use your real email address, please consider using an alias by creating a new address with hotmail, yahoo etc.

Saturday October 6th:
March and Rally with the theme: No Nuclear Waste Dump At Hinkley C.
(If EDF Energy gets the go-ahead for two new EPR reactors at Hinkley C, highly radioactive spent fuel will be stored on site for over 100 years. Most people in the south-west are unaware that their back yard could be turned into a toxic dumping ground.)

11.30am: Assemble King Square, Bridgwater town centre
12.30pm: March through town centre
1.15 - 3.30pm: Rally at Cornhill with speakers, videos and music
4.30 - 5.30pm approx: Die-in at the entrance to Hinkley Point nuclear power station. Please note that parking is very limited in the area around Hinkley. A shuttle service will be provided to take protesters to the entrance. More details will be given nearer the time. Waterproof clothing/cushion/water advised for weather protection/comfort during the die-in.

Sunday October 7th:
Camp planning day: a briefing on the mass trespass will be followed by the formation of affinity groups/spokescouncil so that everyone has a say in how the trespass will be organized. A full legal briefing will also be provided.

Monday October 8th:
Mass trespass at the proposed site of Hinkley C. Please note that this area is not yet licenced as a nuclear installation and therefore is not patrolled by the Civil Nuclear (armed) Constabulary. However the CNC patrols the site of Hinkley A and Hinkley B and these boundaries should not be breached. Boundary maps will be available at the camp.

There will also be a solidarity picket outside the Department for Energy and Climate Change, 3 Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2AW from midday to 2pm. Please let us know if you plan to attend the picket and we will put you in touch with the co-ordinator.

Travel update:
Travel from London
A 50-seater coach has been hired to take people from London on Saturday 6th to Bridgwater and then on to Hinkley C for the die-in (a service station stop will be provided en route). It will then return to London that evening.

Coach departure times:
8am prompt: leaves from Embankment outside Embankment tube station
8.30 am: picks up outside Hammersmith Apollo (near Hammersmith tube station)
Midday: arrives in Bridgwater.
About 4pm: moves on to Hinkley C
About 6pm: leaves Hinkley C to return to London.
Time of arrival back at Embankment (after dropping off at Hammersmith): 9.30-10pm.

Fares:
Return tickets: £25 waged; £13, or as much as you can afford, unwaged.
(NB. Reduction of £2 per ticket, for those booking by October 1st)

Single tickets to Bridgwater and on to Hinkley: £16 waged; £8, or as much as you can afford, unwaged. (Reduction of £1 per ticket if you book by October 1st.)

Single tickets will enable you to take part in the rest of the camp over the weekend and the day of action and blockade on the 8th. However you will have to make your own arrangements for return to London. Minibuses will be returning to London on Monday evening and Tuesday evening but there is no guarantee of space.

Berrys coaches provide a fast service from Bridgwater coach station to Hammersmith, London at 8.30am and 11am. If you want to come from London to the camp under your own steam, Berrys coaches leave from Hammersmith (Mon-Sat) at 3pm and 6.45pm. Tickets: £17 single and £23 return. www.berryscoaches.co.uk

To order tickets for our shuttle coach, send a cheque or postal order to: David Polden, London Region CND, Mordechai Vanunu House, 162 Holloway Road, London N7 8DQ. Make clear how many each of return or single tickets are required and whether waged or unwaged. Make out cheque to “LRCND”. London Region CND is organising the coach on behalf of Kick Nuclear.

For further information: contact David on 020-7607 2302; david.lrcnd@cnduk.org or Kick Nuclear on kicknuclear@kicknuclear.org

Travel from Manchester and Brighton
We’re hoping to lay on coaches/minibuses from Manchester and Brighton. If you would like to use this service please let us know as soon as possible via the Stop New Nuclear Alliance website: campaign@stopnewnuclear.org.uk

Legal summary:
There are two main reasons for deciding to hold a mass trespass at Hinkley C. The first is that the government has failed to listen to our argument against its plans to build eight new nuclear power stations in the UK. Hinkley is the site earmarked for the first of these new plants and is the front line of our campaign. We are therefore ‘raising the game’ and showing that we are prepared to face arrest and possible criminal charges as a sign of our conviction that the government’s policy is dangerous and unnecessary.

The second reason is that EDF Energy has started to clear the land designated for Hinkley C even though it has not received planning permission for construction - or the finances for it from its Paris HQ.

By trashing this fragile section of Somerset countryside, EDF Energy is showing total disregard for the local people, wildlife and environment. We would contend that this is a warning of the company's general outlook and that business will always come before the welfare of people and the environment.

By trespassing on the site of Hinkley C, we will be reclaiming the site for one day and sowing seeds to symbolically replace the plants and trees that have been trashed. (Seeds will be provided. Please don’t bring your own as we aim to sow only varieties that are indigenous to the area. However, it would be great if you could bring ready-made flowers in paper, willow or other biodegradable materials to create an instant garden.)

The lowdown:
As you might expect, it’s impossible to predict what exactly is going to happen on the day of the trespass - or how Avon & Somerset police and EDF Energy are going to respond. (Please see the notes of the meeting we had with police liaison officers from Avon & Somerset on the website for an overview of their approach to the trespass so far).

However, there are a few situations that could arise and it is useful to have these in mind before the trespass so that you can decide what part you want to play on the day itself.

At this point it is also important to note that there are public footpaths around the Hinkley C construction site and there will be opportunities for those who don’t want to be arrested to take part in the demonstration. Further details will be provided at the camp.

Public Order Act 1986, s.14.
During the police liaison meeting in August, Avon & Somerset Constabulary said they were considering the use of this particular law. Essentially, this means that the senior police officer present can impose conditions on a demonstration “to prevent serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community”. The upshot is that you will be told to protest in a specific place only. You will only be arrested if you fail to comply.

Penalty: maximum fine: £2,500 for organisers (or three months’ imprisonment); £1,000 for participants - but in practice, it’s usually far less than this. Section 14 can be quite difficult to prove in court because the police have to prove the ‘serious’ bit of the offence and this can be a legal grey area.

Aggravated trespass:
Because there may be construction workers on the site, the police may feel that you could be intent on stopping them from working if you trespass. Firstly, you could be warned to leave under section 69 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act (and be prohibited from returning). If you fail to leave, you are liable to arrest. However in court, the prosecution would have to prove that you entered the land with the intention of disrupting lawful activity.

This is the wording of the legislation:

Section 68: Offence of aggravated trespass.
(1)A person commits the offence of aggravated trespass if he trespasses on land in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging in or are about to engage in on that or adjoining land, does there anything which is intended by him to have the effect—
(a)of intimidating those persons or any of them so as to deter them or any of them from engaging in that activity,
(b)of obstructing that activity, or
(c)of disrupting that activity.
(2)Activity on any occasion on the part of a person or persons on land is “lawful” for the purposes of this section if he or they may engage in the activity on the land on that occasion without committing an offence or trespassing on the land.
(3)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, or both.
(5)In this section “land” does not include—
(a)the highways and roads excluded from the application of section 61 by paragraph (b) of the definition of “land” in subsection (9) of that section; or
(b)a road within the meaning of the M1Roads (Northern Ireland) Order 1993.

Section 69: Powers to remove persons committing or participating in aggravated trespass.
(1)If the senior police officer present at the scene reasonably believes—
(a)that a person is committing, has committed or intends to commit the offence of aggravated trespass on land ; or
(b)that two or more persons are trespassing on land and are present there with the common purpose of intimidating persons so as to deter them from engaging in a lawful activity or of obstructing or disrupting a lawful activity,
he may direct that person or (as the case may be) those persons (or any of them) to leave the land.
(2)A direction under subsection (1) above, if not communicated to the persons referred to in subsection (1) by the police officer giving the direction, may be communicated to them by any constable at the scene.
(3)If a person knowing that a direction under subsection (1) above has been given which applies to him—
(a)fails to leave the land as soon as practicable, or
(b)having left again enters the land as a trespasser within the period of three months beginning with the day on which the direction was given,
he commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, or both.
(4)In proceedings for an offence under subsection (3) it is a defence for the accused to show—
(a)that he was not trespassing on the land, or
(b)that he had a reasonable excuse for failing to leave the land as soon as practicable or, as the case may be, for again entering the land as a trespasser.
In this section “lawful activity” and “land” have the same meaning as in section 68.

Obviously this only applies if people are working on the site. EDF Energy may stop work because they know we’re coming.

Penalty: If this is a first time offence, you are looking at a fine of around: £200-300.

(As the only reference to the offender in this legislation is in the form of ‘he’, I’ve often wondered if women are exempt).

Criminal Damage Act 1971, section.1(1)
To get onto the site, you will have to get over a fairly high fence. There are ways of doing this that don’t require damaging the fence. We will discuss this further at the camp. However, if you decide to, say, cut through the wire of the fence, you could be liable to arrest under Criminal Damage Act 1971, section.1(1) If you are carrying tools to help you get in, you could be arrested for “going equipped”.

Penalty: The maximum fine is £2,500. It’s generally less but you have also have to pay the costs of damage. If the damage is over £5,000 and you plead not guilty, the case will be heard in crown court.

Obstruction of the Highway (Highways Act 1980, Section 137)/Obstructing a police officer
If you have found yourself gathered outside the main entrance to Hinkley because all other alternatives have been blocked, you could be arrested for “wilful obstruction of the highway without lawful authority or excuse” or obstruction of a police officer.

Penalty: For a first offence, it will be a fine of around £200 for obstructing the highway; for obstruction a police officer, it will be slightly more.

Serious Organised Crime and Police Act
As mentioned earlier, it is not advised to try and enter the boundaries of the Hinkey A and B reactors. This area is a nuclear licenced site and if you trespass, you could be arrested under section 128 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act which criminalises entry into “designated” nuclear licensed sites.

Penalty: Fines at other nuclear installations have been low. What needs to be remembered is that this area is patrolled by the Civil Nuclear Constabulary who are armed.

With all these offences, there are so many things to take into consideration such as criminal record, the circumstances of the arrest, mitigating factors etc, etc. It may be that those arrested may later be released without charge. If it goes to court, in all liklihood, you will probably be bound over to keep the peace or given a fine.

You will also have the choice of being represented by Bindmans Solicitors, so you will be in good hands. We have a reserve fund to pay for any fines incurred and if we don’t have enough to go around, we’ll organize fundraising activities to cover the shortfall.

We’ll be able to give you a clearer picture at the camp.

See you there.

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