Latest News - Wood Panel Industry condemns Government support for Drax wood-burning plant

Wood Panel Industry condemns Government support for Drax wood-burning plant
Thu, Aug 11, 2011

Energy Minister Charles Hendry MP has approved two vast new wood burning power plants.  The two plants, owned by Drax, will be located in Selby, Yorkshire and South Killinghome, North Lincolnshire.

 

These two plants see Drax being paid millions of pounds in subsidies, via the Renewables Obligation (RO) to burn nearly 6 million tonnes of wood a year – over half the UK’s annual wood harvest.

 

The Government recently forecast biomass would produce 8000MW of UK energy by 2030 – requiring some 80 million tonnes of wood.  The vast quantities of wood required to meet this target cannot be produced in the UK, meaning wood from across the world will be shipped to the UK and burnt.

 

The Renewables Obligation was designed to support renewable energy technologies and reduce carbon emissions.  The policy is now leading to timber being burnt rather than used in manufacturing, leading to a rise in carbon emissions. 

 

Alastair Kerr, Director-General of the Wood Panel Industries Federation, has condemned the Government’s decision to grant planning permission to Drax’s plants: “We are extreamly concerned about the impact this will have on domestic wood availability. The  government  fails to understand that generators like Drax will use the subsidy paid by taxpayers to source as much wood as they can from the UK before venturing further afield. If allowed to continue unchecked, the UK’s wood processing industries are at serious risk of being wiped out thereby putting at risk tens of thousands of jobs.  Most of the UK’s wood supply is already being utilised by the wood processing sector that actually make wood work by producing products that continue to store carbon.”

 

As a result of subsidy, average wood prices have risen by nearly 60% in the past five years.

 

“Large-scale  electricity plants burning wood plants should not be being subsidised by the UK taxpayers – who also face paying more for their energy and wood products.  Granting planning permission to these plants is short term approach to energy supply, and will cause long-term damage to the environment and existing valuable industries”.

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