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The activists stopped the train as it made its way towards towards Cottam power stationGreenpeace

Dozens of Greenpeace activists have "stopped and occupied" a train delivering coal to a power station in Nottinghamshire as part of a protest for climate change action.

Fifty climate change activists blocked the coal train as it made its way towards Cottam power station to unload some of its 1,500-tonnne cargo.

The group used emergency signals to flag down the train before climbing on board. They started the protest ahead of the climate summit in New York, which has also sparked the Flood Wall Street and People's Climate March demonstrations.

The protesters said they have enough food and water to stay on top of the train until the climate change summit has finished.

The Greenpeace activists have now blocked off the main route to the power station, which is run by French energy company EDF, and have also placed a lifesize polar bear in front of the 400-metre train to stop it from moving.

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Greenpeace used a mock life-size polar bear to stop the Nottinghamshire coal trainGreenpeace

The bear, previously used in National Theatre productions, is being used to symbolise the "six-million-strong global movement to save the Arctic from the ravages of climate change, of which coal is the main driver".

A spokesperson added Greenpeace have taken "every possible step" to ensure the protest has no impact on train passengers on the main line.

Greenpeace UK climate campaigner Will McCallum, who is on top of one of the coal wagons, said: "Today we're doing exactly what leaders in New York and here in the UK should be doing, which is to stand in the way of the massive damage to our health and climate inflicted by coal.

"Our political leaders promised voters they would put an end to dirty coal, yet the UK is burning huge amounts just because it's more lucrative for the energy companies to use coal instead of gas. What's worse, the government is about to lock us into many more years of coal dependence by giving the Big Six new multi-million-pound subsidies to keep their coal plants open for longer.

"The UK's addiction to coal is giving us climate damage, air pollution, and a dangerous reliance on the Russian oligarchs who supply 51% of the UK's coal imports. It's time our political leaders made good on their pledges by opposing new subsidies, stopping unnecessary coal burning, and setting out a clear plan to retire our outdated coal plants within the next 10 years."

Jacky Westwood, 56, added: "Scientists agree that the fossil fuels we burn, and especially coal, are the cause of the climate crisis threatening lives across the world. The fate of entire countries and species hangs in the balance. Extending the lifespan of our polluting coal plants would only make this worse. It's morally indefensible."

An EDF spokesperson said: "EDF Energy can confirm that individuals have boarded a freight train carrying coal to Cottam power station in Nottinghamshire.

"The safety of our employees and the public is our priority and we are currently working with British Transport Police to ensure everyone involved is safe and out of harm.

"We operate a diverse mix of electricity generation and produce more low-carbon electricity than any other generator in Britain from our nuclear power stations and wind farms."

Cottam power station has yet to respond to the protest.