A few things you ought to know about Drax!
For in-depth info head over the the Biofuelwatch website.
Drax makes claims about bold aims of becoming the first carbon negative power station by... burning forests. Since 2015, Drax has been burning more wood than the UK produces each year, making it the UK's single largest carbon emitter.
The (failed) logic behind this is that there is no difference between trees dying and rotting than entire forests being clear-cut by huge machines, compressed and dried in huge factories, shipped across the Atlantic ocean, delivered to Drax and be incinerated at a rate of ~ 400kg per second. We'll let you make up your own mind on that one!
In fact, on
their own website
Drax quotes their carbon emissions as
then follows that up by simply stating
CO2 emissions resulting from
generation are counted as zero. Despite the fact that the
EU regulations that permit this practice were protested in
this letter signed by over 800 scientists.
In 2019, Drax was awarded £789.5 million in renewable energy subsidies that come straight from our energy bills. This is more than Drax made in profits. In other words Drax rely on Government funding to survive.
Since Drax has been scaling up it's forest burning, subsidies for genuine renewable energy - like solar energy - has decreased.
Since the Government are funding Drax, they could stop the entire climate wrecking project quickly. In fact, a parliamentary vote is not required; the decision rests on Alok Sharma's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This seems unlikely when Drax have employees on the independent advisory board for climate change policy.
In 2018, the government effectively ruled out future subsidies for large-scale biomass by changing the criteria for efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions for new biomass power stations. If even the government admits that power stations like Drax are not a solution, why does Drax still get to boast green credentials?
In Feb 2021, one of Drax's pellet suppliers were fined $2.5 million for air pollution violations.
Less easily quantifiable than carbon emission or # million trees burned is the effect that Drax and it wood pellet suppliers have on the communities they reside within.
In the Southern US, communities living in close proximity to the wood pellet mills used to supply Drax suffer from air, water and noise pollution as well as poverty and injustice . The destruction of forests caused by Drax also destroys biodiverse forests which local communities depend on for clean air and water. These forests have historically served to protect communities from extreme weather and flooding: only set to increase in the near future due to climate breakdown.
Enviva has made people prisoners in their own homes.
People are profitting and we’re suffering
Belinda Joyner, Dogwood Alliance Campaigner
Harm brought upon communities by Drax occurs closer to home too, following the train line of destruction through the North. The extreme amount of wood imported through Liverpool Peel Ports by Drax has forced the port to expand. This has created large amounts of noise pollution and disruption upon local communities - all so that Drax can continue slashing down ancient woodlands and pumping pollution into our air. Noise pollution follows the train line, harming communities in Calderdale all the way along to Selby which suffers from the constant pumping of pollution into the air.
Despite their constant greenwashing Drax continues to demonstrate a complete disregard for people's health, let alone the planet. In Selby, local air pollution levels are not measured - making it impossible for us to know exactly how much Drax is harming the health of local communities - despite the fact that York and the surrounding area have robust measuring systems in place. We know that burning wood pellets emits a large amount of air pollution, yet Drax fails to take responsibility for this.
The practice of chopping down healthy trees to make pellets in the USA and importing these to the UK to be burned is just about as unsustainable as it gets. Sadly, the Port of Liverpool is facilitating this. With no hint of irony its owners, Peel Ports, bemoan the absence of East-West rail links for the movement of freight, but are more than happy to occupy a vital East-West link specifically for Drax, which could and should be being used to move containers. Instead, Peel Ports are sitting back and waiting for the Government to build them a road for their HGVs, through a vital country park, destroying more trees in the process. This is what we're fighting and it's one of the reasons the Save Rimrose Valley campaign supports the calls Axe Drax. Big business literally bulldoze their way through our green spaces, harming the environment and impacting people's lives.
It has to stop.
Ms Kate Elder Fuller, Save Rimrose Valley campaigner
Drax makes bold claims about being the first carbon negative power station through its pilot project to capture carbon emissions from its tree burning. Yet, this bioenergy with carbon capture and storage technology is unproven and even if it did work, it would lead to more forest destruction and increased carbon emissions.