Grangemouth residents and campaign groups outraged by decision to approve Forth Energy biomass Plant

Joint press release by Grangemouth Community Council, Biofuelwatch and Friends of the Earth Scotland

Response to the decision to approve Forth Energy’s biomass power station:

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing announced today that consent has been granted to Forth Energy for a huge 120MW biomass power station in Grangemouth [1]. Local residents including Grangemouth Community Council [2], as well as campaigning groups Biofuelwatch [3] and Friends of the Earth Scotland [4] have opposed the plans. A Public Local Inquiry was held last year.

Walter Inglis, Grangemouth resident and Chairperson of Grangemouth community Council said: “This is a bad day for the people of Grangemouth who have worsening air quality to look forward to, but it’s also a bad day for the people of Scotland because of the wider issues that affect us all. The First Minister has made commitments to climate justice that are now entirely contradicted by the decision from the Energy Minister today.”

The power station will require one million tonnes of imported wood a year, which according to developers could come from highly destructive eucalyptus plantations in Brazil. Contrary to claims that the plant will burn low-carbon, renewable fuel, it will be responsible for vast carbon dioxide emissions [5]. The plant will also cause worsened air quality in Grangemouth, an area with already unacceptable levels of air pollution.

It will, however, be supported by almost £80 million each year in subsidies [6] which ultimately make the plans economically viable. Each of the promised jobs will therefore cost around £1 million a year in subsidies.

Emilia Hanna, Biofuelwatch campaigner said: “The Public Local Inquiry highlighted so clearly how completely unsustainable this project is. The argument was won by local residents and campaigners, yet despite all the evidence the Energy Minister has still seen fit to grant consent. These plans will only cause harm to communities, forests and the climate.”

Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “This shows the amazing hypocrisy of the Scottish Government. Only a year ago it issued its Energy Generating Policy Statement setting out clear, strong reasons NOT to use biomass for large scale projects such as this. It claims to have a policy favouring use of biomass in small-scale plants, off the gas grid, using primarily local sources of supply. Now it approves a massive power station importing over a million tonnes of trees a year to burn for electricity, with no guarantee that Forth Energy will find customers for the heat it produces.”

ENDS ENDS ENDS

Media Contacts:
Oliver Munnion, Biofuelwatch – 07917693337

Notes to Editors:

[1] The Scottish Government statement on the decision can be found here http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2013/06/grangemouth-consent03062013

[2] Grangemouth Community Council is made up of elected volunteers who represent the views of the Grangemouth community to the council and other regulatory bodies on matters for which those bodies have responsibility. It took a lead role in a Public Inquiry into the proposed Forth Energy power station at Grangemouth in May 2012.
www.grangemouthcommunitycouncil.org

[3] Biofuelwatch is a not-for-profit grassroots organisation set up to raise awareness of the negative impacts of industrial biofuels and bioenergy http://biofuelwatch.org.uk/

[4] Friends of the Earth Scotland is * Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation * An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland * Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups – covering every continent.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk

[5] For a list of studies into the carbon impacts of biomass electricity, see www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/resources-on-biomass. In addition, the report “Dirtier than coal?” published by RSPB, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace can be found here www.rspb.org.uk/Images/biomass_report_tcm9-326672.pdf

[6] Subsidies calculated according to methodology here: http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2013/biomass-faq-2/#C19

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