Thank you very much for supporting the petition to ask Yeo Valley to switch its energy supplier from Haven Power, owned by Drax, to genuinely clean energy.
Yeo Valley has sent this response to several people to justify its choice of Haven Power as an energy supplier:
Many thanks for your email about our energy supplier.
Here at Yeo Valley we are committed to farm and produce our products in the most sustainable way, that is why we produce electricity ourselves thanks to the solar panels installed on our farm.
Unfortunately, we are not entirely self-sufficient and therefore we need to buy additional energy from time to time. We buy our energy from a selection of renewable energy providers, Haven Power is one of our suppliers. There are a number of sources providing Haven Power with energy, Drax power station being one.
Drax’s biomass is sustainably and responsibly sourced from managed forests. They committed to the Renewables Obligation 2015 laying out specific requirements on sustainable forest management which they must comply with, in order to receive subsidy on the biomass they use. These requirements include ensuring that biodiversity is maintained, health and vitality of ecosystems is maintained, and that the productivity of the area is maintained. The sustainability criteria ensure that subsidy is not given to biomass generation where forests are being destroyed or where carbon stocks in the forest are being depleted.
The above information reassured us that Drax operates within the set parameters for a sustainable source of energy. I trust this will clarify your concerns.
Yeo Valley Family Farm
If you would like to reply to Yeo Valley to explain why Drax’s tree burning is not sustainable or renewable energy, we have a suggested email below which you are welcome to personalise. You can also view our response here.
Subject: Dear Yeo Valley, please switch your energy supplier from Haven Power to clean energy
Dear Ms Laurie,
Thank you very much for your response to my email.
As a Yeo Valley customer who is very concerned about protecting the environment and the climate, I am extremely sad to learn about Yeo Valley’s energy supplier, Haven Power, and its links to deforestation, pollution and climate change.
I have chosen to buy Yeo Valley’s products because of your ethical commitments to organic farming and wildlife protection. However, I do not feel that your choice of Haven Power as your energy supplier fits in with these ethical commitments to produce your products in the most sustainable way because Haven Power is fully owned by Drax Plc.
Drax Power Station is the UK’s single largest carbon emitter as well as the world’s biggest burner of wood for electricity. Haven Power’s website makes it clear that almost all of its so-called ‘sustainable’ and ‘renewable energy’ comes from Drax Power Station’s biomass burning of wood.
You state in your reply to me that “Drax’s biomass is sustainably and responsibly sourced from managed forests.” Yet, American environmental organisations and media investigations have shown that much of the wood burned by Drax comes from the clear-felling of biodiverse wetland forests in the Southern USA. These forests are home to many rare and endangered species, and they protect local communities from flooding and natural disasters.
American NGOs and media investigations have evidence of mass logging of biodiverse forests and of whole tree trunks being transported to pellet mills. Many of these mills are owned by Enviva which is the world’s biggest wood pellet producer and Drax’s main pellet supplier.
North Carolina is now the world’s biggest exporter of wood pellets and local communities are suffering noise, air and water pollution from wood pellet production as well as the loss of their forests. Enviva is currently planning a mass expansion of its pellet mills throughout the Southern USA. This evidence does not fit with your claim that ‘biodiversity is maintained, health and vitality of ecosytems is maintained.’
You also state that “sustainability criteria ensure that subsidy is not given to biomass generation where forests are being destroyed”. However, investigations by American environmental organisations have shown that the Sustainable Biomass Program used by Drax and Enviva is not independently verified and it does not require on-the-ground visits to the forests to check which trees are felled. Nor does it include any evaluation of the emissions from burning wood.
Equally alarming is the evidence that burning trees in power stations is making the climate crisis worse. It will take decades or longer for new trees to absorb the emissions created by felling and burning forests today and a recent investigation into US pellet mills owned by Drax has found that burning wood from plantations and ‘sustainably managed forests’ increases carbon emissions in the atmosphere for at least 40 years. This is time which we do not have if we are to keep global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.
As well as being the world’s biggest burner of wood, Drax burned 2 million tonnes of coal in 2018 and it is now planning to build the UK’s largest ever fossil gas power station in spite of the climate impact of burning more fossil fuels. Indeed, ClientEarth has launched a High Court challenge to the UK government’s decision to ignore its own Planning Inspectors and approve Drax’s application to burn fossil gas.
I do not believe that Drax’s fossil fuel and tree burning fit your commitment to sustainable energy.
I therefore urge Yeo Valley to stand up for forests, wildlife, communities & the climate by ending your association with the UK’s biggest polluter and by supporting genuinely renewable energy.