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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 13:57 GMT
Protesters claim squatting rights
Pipe protest
The protesters occupying part of the pipe at Trebanos
Campaigners occupying a huge new gas pipeline for a fifth day claim they have established squatters' rights.

Protesters camped in the pipe in the Swansea Valley are said to have cookers, a TV, and boards to sleep on.

The 150 mile (241km) pipe, running the width of Wales from Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire and on into England, is expected to be the UK's largest.

Opponents want the pipe abandoned, but the National Grid said it wanted to find an "amicable solution".

Several campaigners first moved onto the construction site in Trebanos early on Monday, and claimed the development has caused significant damage.

People are certainly feeling fearful over the safety aspect of the pipe
Huw Evans, councillor

According to reports, another camp with around 10 supporters has been set up nearby.

Pontardawe councillor Huw Evans said the feeling locally had been growing and that "direct action" was the favoured option.

"Certainly during the last six to eight weeks we've seen a massive increase in interest in it.

"People are certainly feeling fearful over the safety aspect of the pipe."

When complete, the pipeline will carry gas to supply one-fifth of the UK's energy needs.

The pipe is due to reach into Gloucestershire, and is forecast to cost 750m ($1.4bn). The National Grid has said it would work to balance energy needs with environmental issues, and the pipeline will run underground so that it cannot be seen.

A separate group of protesters gathered at the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Milford Haven on Thursday to show solidarity with the group in Pontardawe.

Pipe protest
The pipeline's route runs from Milford through the Brecon Beacons

Caroline Davidson, of National Grid said: "We're currently working with the police and our legal team to draw it to a suitable conclusion."

Ms Davidson stressed that the safety of the protesters and workers at the construction site was paramount.

She said National Grid had already "completed 90% of the work between Milford Haven and Aberdulais putting the pipeline into the ground".

Other aspects of the work would be sensitive to the weather over the winter months, but she said work would not be stopping altogether.

Protesters are calling for environmentally-friendly sources of energy to be used rather than fossil fuels and want the Department of Trade and Industry to rethink its plans.

Landowner Ira Wynne Jones gave the campaigners permission to begin their protest on her farm.

Although she has formally asked them to leave, they claimed "squatters' rights" give them a legal right to stay - and live - in the pipe.




SEE ALSO
In pictures: Gas pipeline protest
14 Nov 06 |  In Pictures
Pipe protesters 'attract support'
14 Nov 06 |  South West Wales
Assembly plea to call in gas pipe
10 May 06 |  South West Wales
Villagers fight gas pipe station
20 Jan 06 |  South West Wales
Beacons gas pipe bonus criticised
11 Jan 06 |  Mid Wales

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