New investigation shows Drax has sourced logs from British Columbia’s rarest Old Growth forests for its pellet mills

28th February 2024 – A new investigation [1] published today by Conservation North, Biofuelwatch and Bulkley Valley Stewardship Coalition reveals that, throughout 2023, Drax routinely sourced whole logs from logging Primary and Old Growth Forests, including from logging sites with a high proportion of 250-year-old Ancient Forest. The publication coincides with a BBC report on the same topic.[2]

The investigation analysed data published by British Columbia’s (BC) provincial government and shows that a high volume of logs that arrived at Drax’s pellet mills in BC came from Old Growth forests, including Priority Deferral Areas. These are areas identified by a government-appointed committee of experts as being at the highest risk of irreversible biodiversity loss, and include Ancient Forest, Big-treed Old Growth and Remnant Old Ecosystems.

The publication of the investigation coincides with a UK government consultation [3], due to end tomorrow, which proposes new long-term subsidies for Drax and Lynemouth power stations, which have both burned pellets from Drax’s mills in BC. Those subsidies would come into effect in 2027 when existing subsidies are due to expire.

Michelle Connolly, Director of Conservation North [4], says: “Drax insisted that they only get their raw material from sustainably managed forests. These findings show that this is not the case in British Columbia, where the provincial government is enabling the liquidation of our last Old Growth forests and pulling the British public into this ecocide.”

Almuth Ernsting, Co-Director of Biofuelwatch [5] adds: “If the UK government goes ahead with the new subsidies they have proposed for Drax despite these new revelations, then they can drop any pretence of concern about forest and nature conservation, and delete the word ‘sustainable’ from their already deeply flawed 2023 Biomass Strategy.”

Len Vanderstar, R.P.Bio, RCGS Fellow and member of the Bulkley Valley Stewardship Coalition [6], states: “Mature and Old Growth forest stands contain vast amounts of stored carbon. When they are cut down, huge quantities of this stored carbon is released through decomposition, slash burning and, in the case of wood pellets, through burning the wood. It takes many decades, if not centuries, to regain the amount of stored carbon that is lost in Old Growth forests after they are logged, many of which will never see the light of day again.”

Photos from the investigation available on request from biofuelwatch[at]


[1] Logging what’s left: How Drax’s pellet mills are sourcing logs from British Columbia’s rarest Old Growth forests,



[4] Conservation North is a volunteer-run NGO based in Lheidli T’enneh territory which advocates on behalf of nature in central and northern BC,

[5] Biofuelwatch is a UK/US-based NGO that provides information and undertakes advocacy and campaigning in relation to the climate, biodiversity, land and human rights and public health impacts of large-scale industrial bioenergy,

[5] Bulkley Valley Stewardship Coalition, civil society organisation seeking to protect nature, forests and community health in the Bulkley Valley, British Columbia,