office of Scottish energy company
PHOTOGRAPHS AVAIABLE AT WWW.tinyurl.com/biomassaction
Leith—A group of 5 activists have been arrested for occupying the headquarters for Forth Energy in Lieth. Three activists locked themselves to office furniture while two others chained themselves to the front doors. Two other activists scaled the roof of the building and hung a banner reading ‘BIOMASS = DEFORESTATION +POLLUTION = CLIMATE CHANGE’ and were released without arrest. The activists, part of the Climate Camp outside of RBS headquarters in Edinburgh, are targeting Forth Energy because of their plans to build four environmentally destructive biomass(wood-burning) energy power stations in Scotland. The office took ran from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Location: 1 Prince of Wales, Dock, Leith, EH6 7DX
Why are environmental activists risking arrest by taking such drastic
action? Forth Energy, which labels itself a ‘green’ energy company, is
misleadingly pushing biomass as a solution to climate change. In reality
these power stations will increase carbon emissions, pollute local air,
increase deforestation and lead to the displacement of native peoples in
the global south. Wood burned in the proposed Lieth, Grangemouth, Rosyth
Port and Dundee Port sites will be fed primarily from wood chip freighted
in from abroad.
Biomass power stations are more climate damaging than traditional fossil
fuel power stations because of the destruction of virgin woodlands that
they inevitably require. If built these power stations will mean even
more wood imports from abroad and even more destruction of rainforests and
old growth forests to be replaced with plantations of eucalyptus in places
like South America. For example, the smokestack CO2 emissions from a
biomass power station are commonly around 1.5 times greater than those
from a coal power station with the same energy output.
In addition to harming the global climate, these power stations will
severely impact the health of the communities where they are built. All
biomass burning releases significant quantities of nitrogen oxides,
sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and hazardous
air pollutants (HAPs). Such pollution increases the risks of respiratory
diseases, heart disease, cancer and premature mortality including infant
mortality and miscarriage. Leith power station alone would generate
nitrogen oxide and particulates equivalent to 100,000 more cars while
Edinburgh and Grangemouth power stations are 200m to the nearest home and
Dundee power station just 100m.
Demand for imported wood will also mean native peoples and peasant farmers
could be displaced from their land and intimidated, killed, injured or
enslaved to make room for new mono culture wood plantations as routinely
happens in many developing countries.
Despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary, the UK and EU
governments class biomass power stations as renewable, green energy.
Forth energy will receive £300 million in subsidies annually for their
four biomass power stations and this is to be funded through an increase
on utility bills.
Sean Gifford, spokesperson for the activists, said ‘Biomass is exacerbating climate change, destroying precious forests and pulling money away from real, sustainable solutions like energy efficiency measures, wind, solar and tidal power. Forth Energy can expect growing opposition until they scrap the idea of biomass altogether’.
For more information about biomass and the campaign against it, please
Notes to editor:
- The four power stations which will produce a total 560MW will burn a
total of 5.6 million tones of wood a year.
- The four power stations would burn approximately the equivalent of 2/3
of all the wood the UK currently produces every year.
- The UK’s total demand for wood for pulp, paper and biomass is already
altogether unsustainable as the UK relies on net imports for over 80% for
its wood and wood products.