UK: Local campaigns against biofuel and biomass power stations

Biofuelwatch offers advice and support to residents and local groups concerned about bioenergy developments near them. We’ve supported campaigns around biomass and biofuel power stations, both proposed and already built. We also support residents impacted by other infrastructure such as woodchipping and waste wood plants.

Several of the campaigns we’ve supported have been successful. Most recently, in June 2018, a proposal for a large biomass and waste gasifier in Milford haven was rejected by the Welsh government, following a lengthy campaign by Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth, The Environment Network for Pembrokeshire and Biofuelwatch.

If you’re concerned about the impacts of a biomass or biofuel power plant near you, whether proposed or an existing one, please send us an email.

Here are highlights of active local campaigns in the UK (last updated August 2018):

+ Campaign against a large biomass power station proposed in GrangemouthIn 2013, Forth Energy got planning permission for a 120 MWe biomass power station in Grangemouth. However, the company – a partnership between Forth Ports and SSE – then announced that it would not seek to build the plant, after SSE decided against putting any money forward. Instead they would try and find another company that might want to buy the planning consent. Such a company has now appeared: Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (who have acquired  UK start-up company, called Silva Renwables and its subsidiary, Grangemouth Renewable Energy). Grangemouth Renwable Energy has obtained a Contract for Difference, i.e. a subsidies guarantee for an 80 MWe biomass power station on the site. However, Biofuelwatch is working with Grangemouth Community Council, to seek a declaration that the planning consent has expired, and that the plant cannot now be built (at least not without a completely new panning application and Environmental Impact Assessment) being approved. 

+Noise complaints in Markinch, Fife:  In Markinch, RWE has been operating what is still the UK’s largest dedicated biomass power station since 2014. Residents have been badly affected by noise from the power station, and the local authority has refused to monitor air quality in the local area. Biofuelwatch is working with a local residents group seeking to compel Fife Council to take enforcement action over RWE’s excessive noise levels, and we are also providing advice regarding air quality monitoring.

Barry residents protesting against a planned waste wood gasifier

+ Campaign against a waste wood gasifier in Barry, Wales: In Barry, a company called Biomass UK No.2 Ltd – financed by Aviva – has built a 10 MWe waste wood gasifier against huge local opposition. The plant is not yet operating and the local Docks Incinerator Action Group (DIAG) is continuing with several challenges. We have been supporting DIAG with presenting evidence that the plant cannot be considered eligible for renewable energy subsidies (because it was not commissioned by the time the relevant subsidies scheme closed).