"Drax not only operates the UK's largest coal power station but they have so far burned more imported wood than anybody else in the UK. Now they are planning to convert half their coal power station to biomass. To do so, they would need to burn pellets made from around 18 million tonnes of wood every year. That is almost twice as much as all the wood produced in the UK every year (which is 10 millions tonnes). "
"Drax already burns wood from Canada, the US, Portugal and South Africa. Highly biodiverse forests are already being clearcut in North America to make wood pellets, included for UK power stations. The new demand by Drax will make this situation far worse. It is also likely to mean more expansion of monoculture tree plantations in countries such as South Africa, or in South America, and thus more land-grabbing, more depletion and pollution of soils and freshwater and less food sovereignty and food security. And study after study has shown that the climate impacts of large-scale biomass electricity (especially that from burning wood from trees logged for this purpose) is disastrous. For Drax, partial conversion to biomass is a lucrative way of meeting EU air quality standards for sulphur dioxide (biomass burning is about as polluting as coal burning, but lower in SO2) - lucrative because of the large subsidies available for it through Renewable Obligation Certificates."
"Replacing one destructive fuel - coal- with another is not the answer. Both coal and biomass destroy communities, ecosystems, people's health and the climate. The impact of big biomass mirrors that of the coal industry, and painting these industries green is not the solution. We need solutions which focus on an end to large scale coal and biomass. "
The UK's new Green Investment Bank was set up with so far £3 billion of public funding to support 'low carbon development'. Yet their biggest loan so far - £100 million - has gone to Drax to help with their partial conversion to biomass. Please write to the Green Bank, their CEO and Vince Cable (whose department funds the Green Investment Bank today to call on them to stop supporting big biomass: http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2013/green-bank-alert/ and please help us spread the word about this alert."
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