Climate campaigners join in Earth Day digital action to denounce the world’s biggest wood burner, Drax Power Station
22nd April 2020 – As Drax Plc holds its Annual General Meeting on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, nature and climate campaigners from across the UK and beyond joined together today in a digital action to denounce Drax Plc whose Yorkshire power station burns more wood than any other plant in the world.
The online protest was coordinated by Biofuelwatch together with local, regional and national campaign and activist groups.Drax has restricted access to the AGM to a small number of attendees, failing to grant online access to climate-conscious shareholders who may have wanted to ask questions remotely.
Drax Power Station, the UK’s biggest carbon emitter, burned over 7 million tonnes of wood pellets in 2019, made from more than 14 million tonnes of green wood. NGO and media investigations have found that much of this wood comes from clear-felled European and US forests and monoculture plantations grown at the expense of biodiverse forests. In 2019, Drax reported that its biomass power station units release 12.795 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Participants have shared pictures on Twitter and Facebook with plants, trees and flowers with the message #AxeDraxNotTrees in celebration of the forests threatened by the biomass industry. Many have also contacted their MPs to ask them to press the government to transfer around £1 billion in UK renewable subsidies from tree burning in power stations to genuinely renewable energy including solar power and wind.
Frances Howe from Biofuelwatch explains: “It is a shocking coincidence that Drax is holding its AGM on Earth Day, when we should celebrate protecting, not harming nature and the climate. Drax power station is the single biggest emitter of CO2 in the UK and the company is now planning to make its climate impacts even worse by planning the UK’s biggest ever gas power capacity next to the biomass unit. Their huge subsidies must be stopped now and redirected to genuinely low-carbon renewable forms of energy.”
“Our forests provide clean air, fresh drinking water, a place for spiritual renewal, and habitat for wildlife,” said Rita Frost, of Dogwood Alliance, an organization that works to protect forests and communities in the Southern U.S. “I hope that industrial wood pellet companies like Enviva and Drax hear our message loud and clear – our forests are not fuel!” 
A spokesperson for Reclaim the Power  adds: “Drax claims to be supporting a transition to a lower carbon energy system – but burning trees destroys ecosystems and makes climate change worse, and now they want to build the UK’s largest ever gas fired generating station,’ Drax is still embroiled in bitter legal battles because their plans are so deadly. Burning more fossil fuels is a death sentence for vulnerable people at home and abroad, and we must stop it now.”
Lucy Harris from Extinction Rebellion York said: “Growing up in the village next to Drax, I used to spend sleepless nights staring at this monstrosity. I was transfixed by its enormous presence that dominated what is quite a green flat landscape. I am very concerned about the air pollution caused by Drax’s tree and fossil fuel burning, and its impact on the health of local communities. It’s time for Yorkshire to switch to clean energy, not Drax’s toxic wood burning.”
Notes for editors:
 Tonnes of wood refers to tonnes of green wood, which is the weight of freshly cut wood. Drax burned 7.05 million tonnes of pellets in 2019 (drax.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Drax-Annual-report-accounts-2018.pdf), with one tonne of pellets requiring around 2 tonnes of green wood.
 The Dogwood Alliance is an American NGO which mobilises diverse voices to protect Southern US forests and communities from destructive industrial logging: https://www.dogwoodalliance.org/
 Reclaim the Power is a UK based direct action network fighting for social, environmental and economic justice. reclaimthepower.org.uk/