Mae Penner, Chair of OUSU Environment & Ethics Campaign commented on the benefits of the protest. “I think the protest reveals a genuine concern for the environment and the direction of current government policy. Holding energy-users hostage by attempting to cut off their power supply raises questions of fairness, but it could also be argued that npower are holding people hostage by continuing a programme of heavily emitting coal-fired power stations.”Thames Valley Police had already arrested 11 protestors who chained themselves to coal conveyors on Tuesday evening. Based on suspicion of aggravated trespass, the eleven arrests, of six men and five women, took place in the coal conveyor building.Another Oxford student said, “The protest was organised by a group of ordinary people who happened to meet at the summer’s ‘Camp for Climate Action’ and upon hearing about the horrific effects of climate change, particularly that of burning coal decided to take action. So they got on their bikes and shut down a power station.”He added, “I absolutely support this protest, Didcot emits 20,000 tons of CO2 per year, which is the same amount as the 34 least emitting countries in the world.”Students and residents alike were also given a taste of climate change activism in central Oxford last weekend as environmental campaigners converged on Bonn Square on Saturday 24th October to mark 350.org’s International Day of Climate Action.Around 170 people participated in the 350.org demonstration in Bonn Square. OUSU President Stefan Baskerville and representatives from OUSU’s Environment & Ethics campaign, were also in attendance.Mae Penner was one of the key figures in the demonstration and she highlighted its importance, “As the climate talks in Copenhagen draw near, it is more vital than ever that we, as citizens, go out and show our political leaders that we support an ambitious, fair and binding international deal to combat climate change.”“It is estimated that climate change currently causes 300,000 deaths a year (99% of which are in developing countries), with this number set to rise rapidly. It was therefore very heartening to see so many people come together on Saturday, crossing the town-gown divide in a demonstration of international solidarity to demand positive political progress.”350.org, founded in 2007, is an international organisation that aims to cut global Carbon Dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050. The name derives from research that shows that CO2 levels in the atmosphere have exceeded a critical level of 350 parts per million. Saturday’s demonstration was part of a worldwide day of climate actions in support of the organisation.Daniel Lowe, OUSU Environment and Ethics Officer said, “It was great to see Oxford residents and Oxford students coming together to respond as a community to the great threat of our time.”Saturday saw an estimated 5200 events in 181 countries where people came together to raise awareness of the organisation and promote environmental causes. Climate change has been top of the agenda in Oxford this week, with two students arrested following a protest at an Oxfordshire power station, and town and gown joining together in a demonstration to raise the awareness of climate change.The Thames Valley Police Press Office has revealed that nine people, including two Oxford students, were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass at Didcot Power Station, Oxfordshire, on Wednesday morning at 4.30am.The protesters, four women and five men, spent 3 nights in tents they pitched on top of an emissions chimney on Monday. They had planned to stay up the chimney for a week leaving the power station operators unable to restart the boilers, but came down when they realised they would be unable to shut down the facility as planned.One of the students, Lucie Minchin, of Pembroke College, said, “On Monday at about 4 in the morning over twenty of us cycled to Didcot Power Station.”She explained “We were prepared to be there for as long as it took, but our plans to go inside the flues were not going to work.” Minchin added that while her fellow protesters have been bailed away from Oxfordshire, she has been allowed to stay “because they can’t bail me away from my own house.”Another protester commented, “I never thought in my life I would do anything like this. It’s amazing how working with committed people can empower you to confront these massive companies and help force real change in the world.”The spokesperson for RWE npower said, “We are relieved that they have come down safely. We are grateful for the support of the police in ensuring that this incident came to a peaceful and safe conclusion and will cooperate with and support the police in any actions that they feel appropriate. The station continues to operate normally.”The spokesperson added that three of the power station’s four units had been converted to burn natural gas as an alternative to coal, “These 3 units were already using gas before protesters arrived on site. Didcot is unique in its ability to burn both coal and gas, to reflect market needs.”“We recognise the challenge of climate change and operate a diverse mix of power stations. That mix will change going forward as we move towards a low carbon economy.”
RTS Flexible Systems (Irlam, Manchester) a provider of integrated robotic and automation systems for the food industry, has developed a solution for picking and packing food products into variety packs.The system can also be adapted to cope with changes in pack configuration due to the introduction of new flavours or ’limited-edition’ offers.The solution was originally developed for a chocolate biscuit manufacturer. It used RTS’ PixCell TM technology to combine the speed and flexibility of 120-cycle per minute, vision-guided robots with RTS VIP TMline balancing software and RTS-developed gripper designs.According to David Bradford, RTS managing director: “We were able to achieve significant cost savings by replacing a complex and repetitive manual operation to pack multiple product variants with an automated solution.This significantly increases throughput and reduces line downtime. It has the advantage of improved quality control, and there are benefits for hygiene and personnel health because of the reduction in human intervention.”
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