Tayside and Central Scotland

Grangemouth biomass protesters in court

Seven people have appeared in court after a protest against a proposed biomass power station at Grangemouth docks.

The five men and two women appeared from custody at Falkirk Sheriff Court following a day-long protest on Monday, which included blocking access roads.

They all denied charges of obstruction and breach of the peace.

The protesters claimed that biomass plants caused "more climate change, deforestation and pollution".

The first three to appear, Jonathan Agnew, 28, from Glasgow, Hannah Downie, 22, from Ayr, and Almuth Ernsting, 42, from Aberdeen, denied causing an obstruction and conducting themselves in a disorderly manner.

It was claimed that they constructed a "steel obstruction" on the road, preventing vehicles from entering or leaving the docks.

Alistair Coutts, 51, from Aberdeen, Kimberley Ellis, 24, from Dundee, Alan Fleming, 49, from Aberdeen, and Deepak Rughani, 49, from London, also denied committing obstruction on Central Dock Road.

Mr Coutts, Ms Ellis, Mr Fleming, and Mr Rughani also denied an alternative charge of chaining themselves together and lying on the roadway to stop vehicles accessing the docks.

Solicitor Clare Ryan, defending all seven, asked for bail on standard conditions.

Sheriff Craig Caldwell allowed bail and set a trial for 19 July.

Central Scotland Police used angle grinders to clear two road blockades during the protest, which blocked access to Grangemouth oil refinery for almost eight hours.

Forth Energy said the biomass plant would use sustainably sourced fuel and produce low carbon electricity and heat.

The partnership with Forth Ports and Scottish and Southern Energy wants to create four plants in Scotland, at Dundee, Rosyth, Grangemouth and Leith.

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