Britain’s largest renewable power station is cutting down carbon-rich forests while receiving billions in green- energy subsidies from UK taxpayers, an investigation claims.
Panorama tonight reports how Drax, which generates 12 per cent of the UK’s renewable electricity by burning wood pellets at its Yorkshire power station, bought logging licences to cut down two areas of forest in western Canada.
The company claims it only used leftover sawdust and waste wood from the forests but the BBC film, titled The Green Energy Scandal Exposed, shows logs from the forest being loaded on to a Drax truck and then unloaded at one of its pellet plants.
The programme says that Drax’s power station burned more than seven million tonnes of imported wood pellets last year and that documents on a Canadian forestry database show that only 11 per cent of logs delivered to two of its pellet plants are the small, twisted or rotten timber the company says it uses.
Drax has already received £6billion in green energy subsidies even though burning wood gives off more greenhouse gases than burning coal, Panorama emphasised.
The two areas of environmentally important forest – in the Canadian province of British Columbia – where Drax bought logging licences have never been logged before.
One of the sites includes large areas that have been identified as rare, old-growth forest. Drax’s own responsible sourcing policy says it ‘will avoid damage or disturbance’ to primary and old-growth forest. However, satellite pictures show Drax is now cutting down this forest, according to the BBC.