asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is their reaction to the recent decision of the Crown Court in the case in which six Greenpeace activists admitted planning or causing damage to E.ON's power station at Kingsnorth, Kent, in October 2007 but were acquitted by the jury when they pleaded the defence of “lawful excuse” because of their concerns about carbon dioxide emissions; and what measures the Government plan to safeguard future energy infrastructure investments that might face similar direct action by protesters. [HL5392]
Lawful and peaceful protest is a democratic right but the Government are equally committed to the rule of law in a democratic society and to tackling illegal activity.
There are a number of measures in place to deal with conduct of this or a similar kind including the Criminal Damage Act 1971 and the offence of aggravated trespass under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. The Government keep the adequacy of the criminal law under review in the light of changing circumstances and any particular issues that arise.