Direct action pays for Greenpeace

The threat of severe legal sanctions against Greenpeace for blocking a chemical company's discharge pipe last year has evaporated. A civil claim against the group was dropped last year, and in November a criminal case against 22 of its activists turned into an expensive farce when the charges were withdrawn minutes before a court hearing.

The case arose from an action in August 1991 when Greenpeace blocked the effluent outfall from Albright & Wilson's chemical works in Whitehaven, Cumbria (ENDS Report 200, pp 4-6 ).

The company promptly announced that it would bring a civil claim against the group worth well into six figures for damage to

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