Page last updated at 13:32 GMT, Monday, 8 December 2008

Intruder shuts down power turbine

The proposed new Kingsnorth power station
E.On is planning the UK's first new coal-fired power station for 24 years

A turbine at a power station in Kent where climate change campaigners have been holding a series of protests was shut down by an intruder.

Energy company E.On said it believed whoever shut down the turbine must have had specialist knowledge to carry out the "potentially deadly" sabotage.

The shut-down happened on the night of 28 November during two days of action by the Camp for Climate Action group.

However, no organisation or individual has claimed it turned off the turbine.

"We don't know whether it was a protester or not," said E.On spokesman Jonathan Smith.

"But they gained access to the site, tampered with a pretty specific board and managed to turn off unit two.

"It is completely unacceptable. If you ignore the fact they have broken into our site, what they were doing was potentially dangerous, potentially deadly even."

Targeted offices

He said engineers located the problem quickly and turned the turbine back on.

Customers were not affected by the shutdown because the shortfall was made up by other suppliers to the National Grid.

During the two days of action, Camp for Climate Action protesters targeted E.ON offices in London and across England.

It followed a week-long Climate Camp near Kingsnorth power station on the Hoo peninsular in August.

The current Kingsnorth power station is due to close in 2015 and E.ON wants to replace it with two new coal units, which it claims will be 20% cleaner.

Mr Smith said police were investigating the shutdown.

He said Kingsnorth was probably the most secure coal-fired power station in the UK.

"Security at Kingsnorth is extremely high," he said.

"We are looking at security and working with police to make sure this can't happen again."

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