Land Rover's Lode Lane plant in Solihull was turned into a 'climate crime scene' yesterday by Greenpeace activists. Shahid Naqvi reports...
Fresh from climbing on to John Prescott?s roof, Greenpeace was at it again yesterday.
The target this time: Land Rover?s Solihull plant. The mission: To label the factory a ?climate crime scene? for marketing 4x4s to urban dwellers.
If Land Rover worker Pep Rana is anything to go by, the ?campaign terrorism? methods do appear effective.
?I wasn?t aware it was such a big issue, but I am interested in it now,? said the 25-year-old IT worker after picking up a leaflet handed out by one of the activists outside the plant?s Lode Lane entrance.
?When I go back I will be looking at what Ford does with regard to their environmental stance.
?The protesters are here so there must be something. It will leave me wanting to get a bit more information.?
There was however, another response to the protesters? presence.
At lunch -time in the nearby Olton Tavern, one Land Rover worker had a very different view.
?Someone should turn the hosepipes on them,? he said, sucking on a cigarette.
?They are all Commies and students at the end of the day.
?When they get to 40 or 50 and they are lawyers and doctors, they will all be driving around in Land Rovers. We are trying to make cars and they are stopping us.?
Outside the main gate, where about ten protesters had gathered, the mood was friendly. Police officers chatted with them as they handed out leaflets to workers arriving and leaving in their cars.
Most responded with a shake of their head, some politely took the leaflets, occasionally the campaigners were urged ?to get a proper job?.
Lax security had allowed more than 30 Greenpeace protesters wearing fluorescent orange jumpsuits under donkey jackets and carrying heavy chains pass through.
In an audacious twist, the activists even claim they were helping Land Rover workers save their jobs.
?We are not here to damage the company, we are here to help them make a sustainable leap for the future and the plant,? said Andrew Girling, a 42-year-old campaigner from Dudley.
?Once again it is British manufacturing being left behind with development. It has been the failure of most of manufacturing in this region to invest in future products.?
The protesters attacked Land Rover for its ?aggressive marketing? of its ?gas guzzlers? to the urban customers.
Jo Cuper, aged 25, a Greenpeace campaigner who travelled from London to protest, also attacked urban dwellers who drive 4x4s.
?I think the people driving them are incredibly irresponsible,? she said.
?We want people to see them for what they are ? they are killing the climate.?
Greenpeace said it is keen to make an impact with Britain taking over presidency of the EU and the G8 summit this year.
The protest at Land Rover is expected to cost the company #330,000 in lost production. The luxury Range Rover production line produces nine vehicles per hour and protesters were still chained to cars for seven hours.
Production re-started for only 45 minutes at the end of the eight hour day shift, which lasts until 4pm.