Greenpeace volunteers acquitted over shutting Britains biggest waste incinerator
Greenpeace welcomes jurys verdict and calls on Government to end
waste incineration in UK
Five Greenpeace volunteers were today acquitted of charges of
criminal damage by a jury at Wood Green Crown Court, London. The
charges relate to the occupation of Edmonton incinerator in
October last year when the five volunteers closed the plant for
four days by camping on top of the chimney.
The defendants had argued that their occupation of the plant was
lawful because the incinerator was breaking pollution laws and
discharging hundreds of tonnes of toxic chemicals which threatened
people, property and the environment.
Commenting on the verdict, Rob Gueterbock, a Greenpeace campaigner
and one of the acquitted volunteers, said:
"We are delighted with this verdict which totally vindicates our
campaign to shut down waste incinerators in Britain and stop the
Governments plans to build more than a hundred new rubbish
burners across the country. The jury clearly agreed with us that
the incinerator at Edmonton posed a toxic hazard to people,
property and the environment and that we broke no laws in shutting
The verdict marks the second time in two years that Greenpeace
volunteers have been acquitted by a jury  and will be a blow to
Government plans to hugely expand incineration capacity across
Britain. The jury clearly accepted Greenpeaces arguments that
incinerators represent an unacceptable source of toxic pollution
which threatens peoples health.
Todays court verdict will encourage organisations and community
groups that are actively opposing waste incineration and send a
powerful message to the Government about public concerns over
Rob Gueterbock continued:
"The public overwhelmingly reject incineration and this verdict is
a clear signal to the Government about peoples concerns on this
issue. We need to see an end to waste incineration and a massive
increase in recycling and composting along with an official
commitment to making Britain a zero waste economy."
The Governments recycling target for the UK is 35% by 2015, even
though many countries such as Germany and the Netherlands already
exceed this target. Britain is currently near the bottom of the
European league table for recycling and has the lowest glass
recycling rate for any European country.
Notes for Editors:
 In September 2000 at Norwich Crown Court, 28 Greenpeace
volunteers were acquitted of a charge of criminal damage in
connection with the decontamination of a field of GM maize at
Lyng, Norfolk, in 1999.
 Media briefing on acquittal of the five Greenpeace volunteers
at Wood Green Crown Court.
The acquitted Greenpeace volunteers are:
Rob Gueterbock, 30, from London,
Frank Hewetson, 35, from London,
Richard Watson, 36, from Lancashire,
Janet Miller, 45, from Derbyshire,
Christian Aslund, 26, from Sweden.
The charges related to the Greenpeace occupation of Edmonton
municipal waste incinerator (North London) in October 2000 when
the volunteers occupied the top of the chimney for a period of
four days and temporarily prevented the incinerator from operating
by blocking the flue.
The occupation began on the morning of 9th October and finished in
the early hours of 13th October. The volunteers braved appalling
weather and cold to maintain their blockade and were ultimately
forced down by a combination of exposure, hunger and thirst.
The Crown Prosecution Service maintained that during the blocking
of the flue the Greenpeace volunteers caused damage to the
structure of the chimney by banging in various spikes and pins
used to hold ropes. The seriousness of the charges meant that a
conviction could have resulted in custodial sentences.
The defendants principle defence was that they acted to prevent
the law being broken. The incinerator at Edmonton had breached
legal pollution limits on many occasions and the defendants had
every reason to believe that the incinerator was breaking the law
at the time of the action.
Edmonton incinerator, Britains largest rubbish burner, is owned
by London Waste Limited - a joint venture between seven North
London boroughs and SITA, a private French company. The Government
is currently considering a planning application to expand the
capacity of Edmonton incinerator by 50%.
Greenpeace is currently campaigning for the closure of all
municipal waste incinerators in the UK (and indeed globally) and
for an end to the current expansion programme which could see up
to 100 new incinerators being built across the country.
Contact: Greenpeace press office on 020 7865 8255/7
Komentáře k článku. Co si myslí ostatní?