The biggest power station in Britain – which burns millions of tonnes of imported wooden pellets, labeled as a green source of renewable energy – has found itself accused of environmental damage. The company that runs Drax power station in North Yorkshire has been shown to be destroying environmentally big forests, consistent with a BBC Panorama research. The research found that wood for its pellets was sourced from primary forests in Canada, which includes regions that had taken thousands of years to develop.
What did the research find?
Panorama used satellite images, logging licences, and drone photos to again up its findings. Reporter Joe Crowley additionally observed a truck from a Drax mill to affirm it was removing whole logs from a protected area of wooded area. Ecologist Michelle Connolly advised Panorama that the company was destroying forests that had grown over thousands of years. UK taxpayers offer the corporation with billions of kilos in green electricity subsidies, and Connolly stated it was “honestly a shame” that British taxpayers are “funding this destruction with their money. “Logging herbal forests and changing them into pellets to be burned for electricity, this is simply insane,” she stated.
Panorama determined Drax bought logging lets in to clean regions of environmentally big forest in British Columbia. One of the Drax forests is a square mile in size, with big quantities of rare, old-growth wooded area; the British Columbia provincial authorities says those forests are especially valuable from an ecological standpoint, and that firms should refrain from logging them. The Drax power station is a transformed coal facility that now generates 12% of the UK’s renewable electricity, though how ‘green’ its wood burning practices are is controversial amongst environmentalists. Burning wooden pellets emits greater greenhouse emissions than coal burning, however Drax’s supply of electricity is classed as renewable due to the fact new bushes are planted to replace old ones.
Since those new bushes are predicted to absorb the carbon generated by burning wooden pellets, it is considered a green supply of electricity by many government, however recapturing the carbon can take decades, and offsetting only works if the pellets are generated from sustainable sources of wood.
Primary ‘old-growth’ forests contain big amounts of carbon and have never been logged earlier than. They aren’t regarded as a sustainable supply, and any replanted bushes will nearly clearly by no means seize as a great deal carbon as the previous wooded area.
Where is Drax power station?
Drax energy station is placed close to the village and civil parish of Drax in North Yorkshire, about six miles south-east of Selby. The power station itself is situated at the River Ouse among Selby and Goole. Founded in 2005, the company has attracted numerous controversies over the years, which includes a 2020 “virtual protest” held by campaigners in reaction to claims that Drax is the UK’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, and that the wood pellets Drax burns are leading to the destruction of forests. Protestors additionally claimed that the corporation is burning more wood than any other energy station in the world.
What has Drax stated?
Drax advised Panorama that some of the trees in the protected regions of forest had died naturally, and that logging them could decrease the risk of wildfires. The corporation advised the BBC that it had not reduce down the bushes itself, and had as a substitute transferred the logging licences to different companies. However, Panorama showed with the British Columbia government that Drax still holds the licences.
Drax said that it did not use logs from the disputed sites identified by Panorama to make its wooden pellets. Instead, the logs had been transferred to wood turbines to be utilised in the production of other wooden goods, with the company using best the residual sawdust from those processes for its pellets. According to the corporation, sure logs are every now and then used to fabricate wooden pellets, though those are best small, twisted or rotten – ‘low grade’ logs – which can not in any other case be used for wooden products.
However, files from a Canadian forestry database display that best 11% of logs transported to 2 Drax plants in the preceding year had been categorized as low grade. The corporation also said that the Panorama-identified logging spots had been not inside primary forest sites since they were near roads, but the UN’s definition of primary forest does make mention of street proximity.