UK power station burns wood from rare forests

A power company that has received £6bn in UK green subsidies has kept burning wood from some of the world’s most precious forests, the BBC has found. Papers obtained by Panorama show Drax took timber from rare forests in Canada it had claimed were “no-go areas”.

It comes as the government decides whether to give the firm’s Yorkshire site billions more in environmental subsidies funded by energy bill payers. Drax says its wood pellets are “sustainable and legally harvested.

The Drax Power Station, near Selby in North Yorkshire, is a converted coal plant which burns wood pellets. In 2023, it produced about 5% of the UK’s electricity. The site has become a key part of the government’s drive to meet its climate targets.

Its owner, Drax, receives money from energy bill payers because the electricity produced from burning pellets is classified as renewable and treated as emission-free. In fact, the power station emits about 12 million tonnes of carbon a year, but under international rules the UK doesn’t have to count these emissions.

All of the 6.5 million tonnes of wood pellets burned by Drax each year are produced overseas. Many come from Drax’s 17 pellet plants in the US and Canada.

In 2022, Panorama revealed the company had obtained logging licences in the Canadian province of British Columbia and filmed logs being taken from what the programme said was primary forest to a pellet plant owned by Drax.

Primary forests are natural forests that have not been significantly disturbed by human activity.Following the BBC investigation, Drax denied taking wood from primary forests but said it would not apply for further logging licences in the province.

However, the company still takes whole logs from forests that have been cut down by timber companies.

Panorama has obtained documents from British Columbia’s Ministry of Forests that show the company took more than 40,000 tonnes of wood from so-called “old-growth” forests in 2023.

Old-growth is some of the oldest forest which the provincial government says provides “unique habitats, structures and ecological functions

Source: BBC

In other news – Michael Sheen donates £5k for boy with genetic condition

Michael Sheen has donated £5,000 in aid of a four-year-old boy with a genetic condition. The Welsh actor supported a charity football match for Louis, from Wrexham.

Michael Sheen

It comes after Holywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney gave £10,000 to the fund, which aims to raise the £40,000 needed for home adaptations for the young football fan. Read more

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