Government U-turn results in Grangemouth biomass plant go-ahead

FoE Tayside have criticised the decision by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing on 3 June 2013 to approve Forth Energy’s application for a biomass power plant at Grangemouth – similar to Dundee but with more capacity to produce heat.

In a statement to the Courier, Andrew Llanwarne, Co-ordinator of Friends of the Earth Tayside, said:

“It is unbelievable that the Scottish Government could give the go-ahead to this development, which completely contradicts its stated policy of favouring the use of biomass in small-scale plants, off the gas grid, using primarily local sources of fuel supply. This massive power station would import a million tonnes of trees a year to burn.

Only a week ago the BBC reported on its investigations in the US which showed the extensive environmental damage which will be caused by Britain’s growing demand for trees to burn. Like the proposed plant at Dundee, the power station will add to existing problems of air pollution, leading to an increase in respiratory diseases and heart attacks. And it will help increase carbon emissions throughout its life, undermining government targets to reduce these.

As at Dundee, the development is only profitable with subsidies from the public through our energy bills, amounting to a million pounds every year for every job.

So this project makes no sense environmentally, economically or in terms of public health. Obviously we’re very concerned and disappointed that, despite all the evidence, the Minister decided to support the Grangemouth project.”

For a short briefing issued in March on the contradictions in Scottish Government policy, see Biomass policy contradictions summary 140313.

Read more about the investigation by Roger Harrabin for the BBC on the BBC website here.

There’s more in this report in the Wall Street Journal, and another from the US Natural Resources Defense Council, a campaigning organisation.