Residents express concerns over RWE biomass plant at Markinch

Woodchipping facility (2)Biofuelwatch press release for immediate use Thursday 5th March 2015

Residents express concerns over RWE biomass plant at Markinch

Residents living near to RWE’s biomass plant at Markinch and woodchipping facility in Cardenden, Fife, have spoken out about the impacts they are experiencing from the new multi-million pound power station. Impacts ranging from severe noise and light pollution from the plant to exposure to toxic wood dust at the chipping facility have largely been ignored by the company and local authority. Energy Minister Fergus Ewing will be officially opening the plant later today.

Markinch resident Lorna Ross said: “Markinch now hosts the largest dedicated biomass power station in the UK, and for me this really raises concerns about the impacts of such a large development on the local community. While I’m happy that jobs at the Tullis Russel plant have been safe guarded, there have already been local concerns raised about noise and light pollution emitting from the site. I am particularly worried about the negative impact it will have on air quality, since we know for a fact that emissions from this plant will include dust, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, heavy metals such as lead, and furans. All of these are proven to have a negative effect on people’s health, but despite this, RWE has refused to undertake continuous air quality monitoring around the power station.

Cardenden Resident Angie Roy said: “I live in Cardenden, where we have had huge problems with wood dust blowing onto our houses and into our gardens from a nearby fuel storage and chipping facility, which supplies RWE biomass plant. Apart from having to constantly wash our cars and windows and put up with the woodchip lorries coming through the village all the time, I am really concerned about the serious health impacts that breathing in the dust will have on us. Wood dust is classed as a carcinogen by the International Agency on Cancer, and the fact that no continuous air quality monitoring is being carried out either by RWE or Fife Council in Cardenden is really worrying. It means we can’t even know what impact this is having on us.

Concerns have also been raised about the wood being burned at the power station. Campaigners have photographed large piles of trees at the plant’s Offsite Wood Processing Facility which supplies the power station with woodchip [1], leading to fears that carbon emissions from the plant could be higher than the coal fired power station it replaced.

Biofuelwatch Campaigner Sophie Bastable said: “RWE say that they’re burning low-carbon biomass, but we’ve seen vast quantities of whole trees at RWE’s Fuel Processing Facility, presumably ready to be chipped and fed into the power station. Even the UK Bioenergy Strategy says that this will be worse for the climate than burning fossil fuels, for many decades at least. RWE may well be pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes, and simply taking advantage of lucrative subsidies while they actually increase carbon emissions from the plant.” [2]



Oliver Munnion

Notes to Editors

[1] The photographs available on this page were taken on 13th May 2014 at the Cardenden Offsite Fuel Processing Facility. Credit: Biofuelwatch

[2] In his article on the UK Bioenergy Strategy, scientist Tim Searchinger says “On pages 29-31, it also showed how the use of whole trees for electricity would violate these principles and concluded “The use of the entire tree for bioenergy is undesirable as it is generally associated with suboptimal carbon scenarios and can result in increased greenhouse gas emissions.” Such findings are consistent with a broad range of peer-reviewed papers as referenced at the end of this paper.” The article can be accessed here

Woodchipping facility (3)