80 MW Biomass power station threat in Cumbria – Register your objection today!


Deforestation is on the increase in the Southeast US, pictured here, as well as in other parts of the world due to the UK's increased demand for biomass. Photo courtesy of the Dogwood Alliance

Centrica have applied to build a 80MW biomass power station in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. At a time when scientists warn that burning biomass on an industrial scale threatens to worsen global warming, speed up deforestation, and lead to ecosystems destruction across the planet, this power station is not the answer. The power station will:

– burn  around  800,000 green tonnes of wood per year: The location (next to a port) and size of the plant means that it will be largely reliant on imported wood.  According to Centrica’s planning documents, around 80% of imports are likely to come from North and South America, 20% from the Baltic states.  In Canada and the southern US, clearcutting of biodiverse forests is escalating as a result of the growing demand for bioenergy – in the southern US, more remnants of once extensive forests are being converted to pine plantations.  In the longer-term, energy companies are looking increasingly to eucalyptus plantations in South America for woodchip and pellet supplies.  Those are being rapidly expanded at the expense of forests, biodiverse savannah and farmland – lands on which forest-dependent communities, Indigenous Peoples and many other communities depend for their livelihoods.  Scientific studies show that burning wood from trees felled for that purpose will make climate change worse for decades or even centuries .

– run at 28-30% efficiency, meaning that most of the wood burned goes to waste, with no realistic prospect of heat delivery from Centrica’s chosen location;

– worsen air quality in the local area.  Air pollution from biomass power stations is overall similar to that from similar size coal power plants.

Take action

This is not a simple email-alert as this is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project so you must register with the Planning Inspectorate to give your initial views before midnight of 7th September. You will then have the opportunity to attend a meeting on this if you want, and to submit a more detailed objection further down the line. Don’t panic – this is very easy! Just follow these very simple instructions…. 

– Go to http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/projects/north-west/roosecote-barrow-biomass-power-station/ and click ‘Register Online’ (top right). Fill out the form. Section 3 is the part you can write your initial objection in. NB: This objection will be registered but you’ll still have an opportunity later to submit a more detailed objection.

– Here is a template letter you can copy and paste if you need some inspiration about what to write – but please do customise your objection if you have the time as this will make it more powerful than our template!

If you have any questions in relation to the application or this alert, please email us at biofuelwatch@ymail.com .

Suggested Objection to Centrica’s Proposed 80 MW power station in Barrow-in Furness

I wish to object to this power station for the following reasons:

(1) Fuel requirements  and sustainability:

I believe that the proposal is not a sustainable development as defined by the National Planning Policy Framework.  The power station will burn up to the equivalent of 800,000 or more green tonnes of wood every year. Centrica has made no concrete commitment to where it will get its fuel from but it is highly likely that most of the fuel will be imported, due to wood scarcity in the UK and high demand from other users.  Under their ‘central scenario’, 90% of wood will be imported, 80% of that from North and South America.  There is strong and growing evidence that the fast-increasing demand for bioenergy is already resulting in increased clear-cutting of biodiverse forests in Canada and the southern US, to more conversion of remaining native forests to monoculture pine plantations in the southern US and (including indirectly) to the expansion of eucalyptus monocultures at the expense of forests, biodiverse savannah and communities in Brazil and other South American countries.    Scientific studies, as well as an Opinion by the Scientific Committee of the European Environment Agency, show that the carbon debt from burning wood from trees felled for that purpose will take decades or centuries to repay.

 (2) Efficiency:

Centrica has made no  commitment to supplying any heat from the power station and has identified no potential heat customers. Without making us of the heat, this power station will waste most of the energy produced and run at around 28-33% efficiency, which is a wasteful use of what is a finite and dwindling natural resource. Under EU law, Member States are to promote technologies in industrial applications which can achieve an efficiency of 70%.

 (3) Local pollution:

Burning biomass is heavily polluting, producing nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), heavy metals, dioxides and furans, and particulates (PMs).  Some of those pollutants affect the proper functioning of the heart and lungs, others are linked to cancers and birth defects.   The impacts of pollution from biomass are all the worse for vulnerable people such as asthmatics, young children, and the elderly.

I urge that this planning application be refused permission.