DECC to be announced as winner of Biomess Award as campaigners target major biomass industry conference today

Please note: Last minute venue change for ‪#‎biomessawards‬ – please meet at 7pm at Grange St Paul’s Hotel, 10 Godliman St, EC4V 5AJ – just south of St Pauls, in from Café Rouge

 

Media Contacts: Oliver Munnion on 07917693337 or oli.munnion@biofuelwatch.org.uk
At the awards ceremony – Maryla Hart 07793319141

Photographs will be available from our website shortly after the event http://biofuelwatch.org.uk/

DECC to be announced as winner of Biomess Award as campaigners target major biomass industry conference today

Environmental Campaigners have announced that the Department for Energy and Climate Change have come out on top of an online poll coinciding with a major biomass industry conference in London [1], with Drax Plc and the Green Investment Bank coming a close second and third place. The award for forest destruction will be presented at an alternative awards ceremony which will be held outside a gala dinner for delegates tonight from 19:00.

Biofuelwatch [2] Campaigner Duncan Law will be hosting the satirical awards ceremony and said: “The people have spoken, and as far as they’re concerned DECC are the biggest biomass baddie. Through their outrageous support for the biomass industry they have fuelled a new market for burning wood, and rewarded irresponsible companies such as Drax and their pellet suppliers Enviva for clearing ancient forests and pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”

Biofuelwatch’s “alternative” awards ceremony will put a spotlight on the destruction being caused by the companies represented at the conference, which includes award nominees Drax, Enviva, the Renewable Energy Association and the Woodpellet Association of Canada. Hundreds of people have voted for their “biggest biomass baddie” in an online poll held in the run up to the ceremony. [3]

Drax’s biomass plans will require pellets made from 15.8 million tonnes of wood each year, making it the biggest biomass-burning power station in the world. By comparison, the UK’s total annual wood production is only 10 million tonnes. A growing number of scientific studies [4] show that burning biomass actually produces more emissions than the coal it replaces for decades. Serious environmental concerns have already been raised about the destruction of highly biodiverse forests in the southern US which are being exacerbated by Drax’s growing demand for wood pellets [5].

Duncan Law said: “Government and industry are using renewable energy targets as an excuse to keep old, polluting coal power stations running by burning vast amounts of imported wood. This is being justified because of a modern myth that biomass can be sustainable regardless of its scale. But there is nothing sustainable about importing and burning millions of tonnes of wood each year. In the UK alone, anticipated demand for wood because of biomass electricity is 7 times the UK’s current annual wood production. This won’t come from renewable, clean or green sources, but from imports that are the result of cleared forests.”

Notes to Editors:

[1] http://www.argusmedia.com/Events/Argus-Events/Europe/Argus-Euro-Biomass/Home

[2] 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/

[3] For full descriptions of each award nominee please see: http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/biomess-awards/

[4] 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

[5] US-based Dogwood Alliance have extensively documented the use of whole trees and destruction of ancient wetland forests in the southern US by Drax and E.On pellet supplier Envia. For more information see Dogwood Alliance campaign “Our forests aren’t fuel” http://www.dogwoodalliance.org/campaigns/bioenergy/ and Biofuelwatch’s new report “Biomass: the Chain of Destruction” http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2013/chain-of-destruction/

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