Coal Baron's Hidden 'Conscience' Shuts Down UK's Largest Open-Cast Mine

Activists identifying themselves as the “conscience” of one of the United Kingdom’s most prominent climate change skeptics on Monday shut down operations at an open-cast coal mine—the country’s largest—which happens to be situated on land owned by the notorious climate-denier and aristocrat, Conservative Viscount Matt Ridley.

Beginning at dawn, “four protesters climbed down into the depths of the Shotton mine, which is run by Banks Mining, fastening themselves to a 500-tonne coal excavator and brandishing a banner bearing the slogan ‘End Coal,’ while another group of around eight blocked the main entrance to the site by lying in front of the gate, handcuffed together inside drainage pipes,” the Guardian reports. The Shotton coal mine is located outside of Newcastle in Britain’s northeast.

The group, which donned masks of Matt Ridley’s face, published this letter ahead of the action:

Dear Matt, It’s time for you to finally come clean about your fossil-fuelled climate denial and your coal mining millions. Coal is a red line for the planet, and climate scepticism cannot be your business model any longer. That’s why, as your Conscience, we’ve taken matters into our own hands and shut down your mine. We hope you’ll understand,  Sincerely, Your Conscience.

Workers were reportedly sent home and trucks that turned up at the gates were sent away. At least five of the protesters were arrested.

The campaigners are demanding an end to all open-cast mining in Britain and for coal-fuelled power stations to be closed by 2023 to prevent catastrophic climate change.