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.
The township cut down all of the shade trees that once lined Town Square in a controversial move designed to prevent homeless people from spending time there.
Mayor Ray Coles said the decision was made after a recommendation from the Police Department Quality of Life Unit, which the township said was triggered by numerous complaints from residents and township employees about homeless people defecating and urinating in the area.
“They (homeless people) were harassing people, defecating between the cars and residents were complaining,” Coles said.
Claudia Romero, who works in a tax preparation company across from the Town Square, said that one day she found human feces on the sidewalk in front of her office and then submitted a complaint to the township. The township did not say how many complaints it received.
Scotland, site of the recent United Nations 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) climate summit, has cut down 14 million trees to make room for new wind power installations.
As reported in The Herald, the tree removal was for 21 wind turbine projects.
“The Scottish Government has moved to reassure that more trees have been planted, but it is unknown what proportion of these are mature plants that play a bigger role in turning carbon into oxygen.
“A Scottish conservation charity, which has planted almost two million trees across the Highlands, believes that both wind farms and trees are key to reducing carbon levels.”
The tree removal seems especially ironic given that world leaders supposedly agreed to end deforestation by 2030 at the recent COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Herald further reports that: “A spokesman for Forestry and Land Scotland, said: ‘Renewable energy and forests are key to Scotland’s contribution to mitigating climate change and FLS is successfully managing both elements.