Retired GP Faces Imprisonment for Allegedly Obstructing Train to Tree-burning Power Station Drax
Summary: Trial 11-13th July, demo outside 10am each day at Leeds Crown Court, 1 Oxford Row, LS1 3BG Contact: [email protected]
06 Jul 2023
Retired GP, Dr. Diana Warner, finds herself at the centre of a legal battle which could lead to imprisonment. She stands accused of obstructing a train heading to the controversial tree-burning power station, Drax. The trial is 3 days from 11th to 13th July, and there will be supporters outside each day from 10am.
On 14 Dec 2021, Dr. Diana Warner was arrested and subsequently charged with obstructing a train to the notorious Drax power station. Dr. Warner was filmed standing by the train line in orange high visibility clothing and a large flag on the day, making a speech pleading with those in power to take a stand against Drax. She has also been charged with aggravated trespass.
Situated in Selby, North Yorkshire, Drax power station is the UKs single largest carbon emitter, and world’s biggest tree burner. Drax has faced widespread criticism due to its heavy reliance on burning wood pellets obtained through clear felling forests. Drax has also been fined for damaging the health of poor and Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities who live in the regions affected by deadly pollution coming from its wood pellet producing industrial plants. Residents in the communities affected by Drax describe its operations as environmental racism, leading to widespread criticism of Drax from across the political spectrum.
Dr. Warner has marched, written letters, emailed her MP and even stood as an MP candidate in her efforts to make our children safer and now after a desperate attempt to get those in power to listen finds herself facing a jury in Leeds Crown Court. This is not the first time she has faced a jury, as just a week before travelling to Drax Dr Warner was cleared by a jury for disrupting the DLR in London to highlight the climate emergency.
Dr. Diana Warner allegedly halted the train carrying biomass fuel to Drax through peaceful protest by the tracks. On the court case and action she said:
As a doctor, all my life I have worked to help people stay well. In retirement I am doing the same. We know that climate change caused by burning fossil fuels is killing people and threatens our way of life, our civilisation. We know that the Drax power plant is the UK’s highest carbon emmitter. While previous high pollution levels within Drax power station itself has harmed those working there, its continued operation is a threat to us all.
Drax have been under fire from all sides in the last year with Ofgem both fining Drax £6.1 million in January and launching an investigation in March around its sustainability, this investigation is ongoing. Drax workers have gone on strike twice. Drax were caught out on their continued lies about the deadly pollution of their pellet plants in USA. Drax had their annual shareholder meeting descend into chaos as Axe Drax members were carried out by security. Most recently multiple international NGOs have written to Grant Shapps calling on him to end subsidies for woody biomass in the upcoming biomass strategy.
Axe Drax and many other groups have been peacefully campaigning against biomass for years. We have signed petitions, written letters, held protests, lobbied decision makers, but this destructive industry is being allowed to continue funded by public money coming out of peoples energy bills. Harm is being felt right now by the BIPOC people on the front lines of Drax’s business of destruction. Our climate is on the brink of tipping points that would put every society at risk of collapse, with those in the global south already feeling disastrous, irreparable loss of and damage to life, home, stability and knowledge.
Additional quote from Diana Warner
My mother-in-law moved to Canada, and while visiting her we walked within the virgin forests of British Columbia. The stateliness and power of these forests are unbelievable - it is no surprise that the indigenous peoples understand them to be sacred. I am full of grief to think that remaining virgin forests here are being clear-cut, in the twenty-first century, confirmed and exposed by Panorama journalists this year.
Photos and videos
Who are Axe Drax?
Axe Drax are a network in resistance to Drax which utilise a diversity of tactics including direct action. We have 3 demands to the UK government:
1. TELL THE TRUTH: BIOMASS ≠ GREEN
Governments and corporations be honest: biomass causes irreparable damage to the health of people and our life support systems. Classifying burning trees as renewable is a scam and the government is making us pay for it.
2. DEFUND BIOMASS
Remove the £ billions in subsidies given to Drax and other biomass power stations in the UK. This money funds death and destruction around the world, harming POC and poorer communities the most whilst corporations profit. If we stop the money, we stop the destruction.
3. FUND REAL SOLUTIONS
The £ billions given to biomass should be used to fund a just transition: furlough; retrain and transfer workers in the biomass industry; invest in education, affordable housing and health; fund genuine renewable energy. We must develop a plan of moving away from profit motives, which are fuelling the climate crisis, towards community based solutions.