News

Activists block Grangemouth port to stop Forth Energy's "mad" biomass plans

posted 16 May 2011 13:50 by Bernard Burns   [ updated 16 May 2011 16:26 ]

Action Against Agrofuels Media Release – For Immediate Use Monday 16th May 2011
[click on the images for full resolution versions]

 
 
 
 
 

Members of Action Against Agrofuels blocked the two sole access roads to Grangemouth docks today, in protest over Forth Energy's plans to build a biomass (wood) burning power station at the docks. The company, which is co-owned by Forth Ports, plans to build four large biomass power stations across Scotland [1]. Activists blocked off traffic to the entire port and fuel tankers were at a standstill. Seven protesters were arrested.

Protesters blockaded the port from 7:45 in the morning. At the North Shore entrance, they used a 20 foot high tripod made of scaffolding poles. One of the protestors sat on top of the tripod for over seven hours before being finally removed by police. Two other protesters necklocked themselves to the tripod. At the South Shore entrance, five protestors used lock on tubes to lock their arms together in a circle. Four of them were later arrested after being cut out by police. The protesters are being held at Falkirk Police Station and are expected to appear in court on Tuesday. The blockade meant no lorries or other traffic could enter or exit the port. Three activists are blockading the North Shore Road roundabout with a scaffolding tripod and bicycle D-locks, and a further five are blockading the South Shore Road with re-enforced arm lock-on tubes.

Action Against Agrofuels are protesting both against the Forth Energy's plans, which threaten forests, climate and people and against the Government's biomass subsidies under which the company will receive £300 million a year for the four power stations. Protestor Johnny Agnew from Glasgow states: "Vast renewable energy subsidies, paid through all our fuel bills, are being offered for big biomass, which causes more climate change, more deforestation and more pollution. We are effectively subsidising ecocide." Another protestor, Kimberley Ellis from Dundee, says "We're putting our bodies in the way today because the government seems is overriding concerns of deforestation, human rights abuses and accelerated climate change associated with the biomass stations."

Alister Coutts from Aberdeen adds: "Forth Energy claim that their biomass will be sustainable, but there is nothing sustainable about creating such a vast new demand for wood. A demand on this scale will lead to the destruction of forests and other ecosystems, exacerbates climate change and is linked to the displacement of communities and indigenous peoples. In Scotland it will lead to health problems associated with local air pollution. "

Forth Energy's four planned power stations would between them consume the equivalent of two thirds of all the wood the UK produces annually. Increased demands for biomass is leading to the destruction of old growth forests including rain forests, which are then replaced by industrial tree plantations such as eucalyptus. Industrial plantations lead to the depletion and pollution of water and soils and they are linked to the displacement and evictions of communities in the South. The world's forests help regulate weather patterns and protect us from climate change. Because they destroy forests, biomass power stations are even worse for climate change than burning coal. Far from being a ‘green' energy source as the Scottish Government claims, biomass power emits 150% more CO2 than coal.

Although nearly 1,000 local people in Grangemouth have objected and the local authority has voted against the plans, they will have little say in the Government's decision. Local impacts will include significant air pollution in an area with high levels of pollution already, and serious threats to marine life in a protected nature area. Scotland has an abundance of indigenous natural resources. We need real climate solutions including energy efficiency and true renewables such as wind, solar, wave and tidal.



Notes to editor:

[1] The four power stations which will produce a total 530MW will burn a total of 5.3 million tonnes of wood a year. They will be at Rosyth, Leith, Dundee and Grangemouth. The annual UK wood production lies around 8.4 million tonnes per annum.
  • 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.
  • The Firth of Forth is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, an SPA (Specially Protected Area), Natura 2000 and RAMSA wetland.
  • Friends of the Earth has shown that European biomass imports have already led to neo-colonial land grabbing in Africa.

Planning permission refused at appeal for Blue NG Southall biofuel power station

posted 1 Jul 2010 08:19 by Robert Palgrave

30 June 2010 - Decision from Dept for Communities and Local Govt. following the appeal in March 
 
Permission for the power station was refused by Ealing Council in September last year on grounds of air quality and traffic safety. Blue NG appealed. The inquiry to hear the appeal focussed solely on these two grounds for refusal. Our evidence on biofuel sustainability and carbon-saving performance was listened to and recorded but not taken into account in the Inspector's recommendation.
 
The Planning Inspector recommended the appeal be dismissed because the already poor local air quality would be worsened unacceptably, and because traffic safety would be unduly compromised by having up to 8 tanker deliveries a day negotiate very narrow and congested side roads to reach the site.
 
The Secretary of State responsible for local planning matters accepted the recommendation.
 
See attachments for full details of the decision letter and the Planning Inspector's report.
 

 

PRESS RELEASE – EALING FRIENDS OF THE EARTH & BIOFUELWATCH

 

30 June 2010

 

Southall Biofuel Power Station Plans Rejected

 

Environmental campaigners in London and across the UK welcomed today’s decision by Communities & Local Government Secretary of State Eric Pickles MP, to turn down plans for Blue NG’s biofuel power station in Southall.

 

Permission for the power station was initially refused by Ealing Council in September last year because of concerns about air pollution from the exhaust emissions and worries that road safety would be compromised by frequent fuel tanker deliveries though crowded streets.

 

Biofuelwatch, Friends of the Earth and other environmental campaign groups objected to the development because the production of liquid biofuels on a large scale is unsustainable; they accelerate rather than slow climate change; they harm biodiversity and cause more deforestation; and they can lead to human rights abuses in producing countries.

 

Blue NG’s subsequent appeal – just dismissed by Mr Pickles - claimed that the power station would only minimally worsen local air quality and that tanker deliveries could be handled safely.

 

But the appeal decision notes that the proposal would have had an adverse effect on air quality, that some absolute pollution levels would be 50% above statutory limits, and that many people would be affected in a deprived area where there is already a shorter life expectancy than elsewhere in the Borough of Ealing.

 

Nic Ferriday of Ealing Friends of the Earth said: “It makes absolutely no sense to burn biofuels for electricity and so increase air pollution when the UK is failing to meet EU targets for air quality in London. We calculated that the power station would emit about 126 tonnes of NOx and 46 tonnes of PM10 a year, and the planning inspector accepted our argument that this level of pollution was not acceptable in an urban area already blighted by high levels of air pollution. When we looked at the type of fuel to be used and how it is produced we came to the conclusion that it would lead to more carbon emissions than burning natural gas to generate electricity. Doing that and increasing air pollution is simply mad.”

 

Robert Palgrave of Biofuelwatch added:  “Far from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the UK’s bioenergy policy threatens to accelerate global warming by destroying tropical and sub-tropical forests and peatlands, which are amongst the world’s most important carbon sinks. Even for energy crops grown in Europe, large amounts of nitrous oxide are released as high levels of fertilisers are used, and our biodiversity suffers. Europe’s car industry has used biofuels as a means of avoiding strict fuel efficiency standards which are essential for reducing carbon emissions. Now the UK electricity sector is moving in, attracted by the excessive levels of subsidy on offer for burning biofuels. If we want to have any hope of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change then we need drastic cuts in energy use -  not oil crops grown in vast monocultures to produce so-called green electricity.

 

“Planning policies in the UK are currently stacked in favour of power station developments like Southall. A policy drafted 6 years ago before large-scale vegatable oil power stations were on the horizon is being used to exclude full discussion of their environmental impacts in planning applications. To compound the problem, the last Government mistakenly chose to give biofuel electricity the highest level of financial support under the Renewable Obligation – the same as offshore wind power - and this has triggered a rush to build huge sheds around the country containing large diesel engines. Nothing to do with climate change, just a way of meeting an EU target for ‘renewable’ energy.”

 

Notes

 

A. The Southall power station was designed to burn approximately 20,000 tonnes of vegetable oil per year. That amount of diesel would run 20,000 average sized/mileage cars for a year. And generate roughly the same pollution.

 

B. How the UK has continued to expand bioenergy in spite of the warnings:

 

1. July 2008 - Prof Ed Gallagher recommended caution in expanding the use of biofuels in transport because of the indirect impacts:

 

A slowdown in the growth of biofuels is needed - "The introduction of biofuels should be significantly slowed until adequate controls to address displacement effects are implemented and are demonstrated to be effective. A slowdown will also reduce the impact of biofuels on food commodity prices, notably oil seeds, which have a detrimental effect upon the poorest people."

 

Lower targets and stronger controls are needed: don't go beyond 5% unless sustainability can be demonstrated -  "Current greenhouse gas lifecycle analysis fails to take account of either indirect land change or avoided land use from co-products. Failing to include these factors may create perverse incentives which lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging feedstocks that lead to higher net land use."

 

2. July 2008 - Ruth Kelly report to the House of Commons:

 

"Given the uncertainty and potential concerns Professor Gallagher sets out, I believe it is right to adopt a more cautious approach until the evidence is clearer about the wider environmental and social effects of biofuels. We also need to allow time for more sustainable biofuel technologies to emerge."

 

3. April 2009 - Amended Renewable Obligation Order:

 

Renewable Obligation Certificates are to be paid at different rates (under a banding scheme) for various types of renewable electricity generation. This arrangement is allowed for but not mandated by the EU Renewable Energy Directive.  Burning of Energy Crops, which can include bioliquids such as palm oil, rapeseed oil and jatropha oil, is given the highest level of financial support. Twice that of onshore windfarms and Energy from Waste schemes.

 

4. Amended ROO triggers application for biofuel power stations

 

At least 12 bioliquid power stations are now being proposed in the UK. Three have planning permission. Most openly state that they will burn imported fuel. The biggest two developers have openly commented that they want to build several more.

 

Palm oil is the cheapest suitable vegetable oil. As palm oil is not particularly attractive to the transport biodiesel market, it finds a more natural home as 'straight vegetable oil' for use in power stations.

 

5. Are these power stations efficient?

 

None of them provide any district heating (CHP) as they are mostly located in portside settings with no local housing. Waste heat is dumped in the air or in the sea. The Environment Agency has cautioned against the deployment of inefficient biomass power stations saying they will soon have a higher carbon intensity than the average for the national grid. They will therefore hinder the move to a truly low carbon economy. The Environment Agency has also recently made a public statement saying that subsidies for palm oil power stations should be stopped (www.environment-agency.gov.uk/static/documents/Research/Electricity_generation_from_palm_oil.pdf

 

and

 

www.environment-agency.gov.uk/static/documents/Research/Generation_of_electricity_from_palm_oil.pdf )

 

6. Biofuel power station consumption and subsidies

 

The annual fuel consumption of the 12 power stations already in the pipeline will be approximately 250,000 tonnes a year, and the annual financial support around £120m. As context, transport biodiesel consumption in the UK is about 1.1 million tonnes a year  (2.7% of total fuel). Unlike the transport sector, where diesel engines can typically not accept a biodiesel blend higher than 5%, there is no technical cap on the volume of fuel that can be burnt to generate power. More power stations can simply be built and connected to the grid.

 

6. Have the Gallagher recommendations been listened to?

 

By incentivising biofuel power generation to this extent - which is not mandated by any EU Directive - UK Govt policy is now increasing biofuel consumption in the UK by around 25%. This is hardly a "significant slowdown in the introduction of biofuels" (Gallagher) and it is going ahead without waiting for the emergence of "more sustainable biofuel technologies" (Kelly).

 

7. The ROC banding scheme can be changed quickly

 

The ROO allows the Sec of State to amend the scheme under special powers. This was done for off-shore wind recently - bringing it up to the same support level as biofuels. Labour ministers have refused to take this up, saying that the scheduled periodic non-emergency review starting in October 2010 will consider the scheme and any changes decided on will come into effect in April 2013. By which time it is entirely possible that biofuel electricity might be consuming as much as half as much fuel as transport biodiesel.

 

8. UK developers are planning many solid biomass power stations as well, and the total annual subsidy for all 31 large schemes will be over £2bn. They will consume at least 25 million tonnes per annum, mostly imported wood and other biomass. (The UK has a forecast maximum timber production peaking at 20 million tonnes in 2019. Indigeneous production is already fully subscribed for construction, furniture and existing energy production.)

 

9. Only 9% of transport biofuel is sourced from UK feedstock. As a result, energy security is not improved compared to fossil fuels and UK agriculture is not stimulated. Apart from one approved bioliquid power station that the operator says will use UK grown rapeseed oil, all of the others will import their fuel, typically palm oil.

 
 
 

LTGDC approve Beckton Power Station Amendments

posted 22 Apr 2010 08:59 by Maryla H

21st April 2010 – The London Thames Gateway Corporation today waved through a planning application by Blue NG which will pave the way for large quantities of biofuels being burned at a planned power station in Beckton, one of the most polluted areas of London. Blue NG had a previous application approved in 2008 and sought an amendment to allow them to build the power station more easily, at the same time as new evidence of the serious impacts of biofuels on climate change and air pollution emerged.

Blue NG got their new application approved on the same day as the European Commission released a study which confirms that the climate impact of burning rapeseed oil is far worse than that of burning and equivalent quantity of fossil fuels (1). Blue NG have stated that they intend to burn around 20,000 tonnes of UK rapeseed oil a year at Beckton, however they have yet to sign any legally binding documents that would prevent them from using palm oil. Because palm oil is considerably cheaper than other biofuels, it is very likely that Blue NG will switch to burning palm, as has happened in most of Germany’s 1200 biofuel power stations. , so they could well end up burning palm oil which is far cheaper. Palm oil is the main cause of deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia, according to the UN and palm oil expansion results in the displacement and evictions of indigenous peoples, other forest-dependent communities and small farmers and to land conflicts.

Maryla Hart from Food Not Fuel says: “Blue NG’s power station will, indirectly if not directly, lead to more rainforest destruction and land-grabbing. Even if Blue NG were to cut their profits and use fuel from UK rapeseed oil, this new demand would cause the UK to import more palm oil for our food products to replace the rapeseed oil lost to biofuels.”

Last month, the Commons Environmental Audit Committee found that air pollution kills up to 50,000 people a year in the UK. Biofuel burning emits similar air pollutants as burning diesel and the health risks to people in Beckton are likely to be particularly serious because the area has much higher death rates from asthma and other lung diseases than other parts of London and England (2)

Last September, Ealing Council refused a very similar biofuel power station application by the same company because of air quality and health impacts. Blue NG have appealed and the decision is being awaited from the Secretary of State.

Blue NG claim to be a ‘green energy’ company, yet in the Southall planning appeal they worked hard to suppress any debate about the environmental, climate and social impacts of their plans. One study after another has shown up their claims as false. Even the government’s Department for Transport has expressed concerns about unchecked biofuel growth.

Notes:

(1) See www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LDE63J1FP.htm .

(2) See www.newham.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/4721DB6E-CD4D-476C-BEA3-68D64C3CFDD3/0/NewhamDES1.doc

 

Newham Council approve Beckton Power Station Amendments

posted 14 Apr 2010 14:05 by Maryla H   [ updated 10 Jul 2010 03:49 by Bernard Burns ]

Food not Fuel PRESS RELEASE 14 April 2010



Newham Council says residents can cope with more air pollution, and burning biofuels is OK



Newham Council have passed revised plans for Blue NG's biofuel power station to be sited at Gallions Reach, Beckton. The final decision will be made on 21st April by the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation. The Beckton power station will burn 20,000 tonnes of vegetable oil every year, and will increase air pollution in an area where the air quality is already failing to meet statutory limits.

The planning committee ignored Council policies which state that polluting developments "will be resisted". They also ignored comments from objectors that polluting developments of this type should not be going ahead while London is under threat of fines from the EU for failing to improve air quality. Nor did they heed the warnings given by the Commons Environmental Audit Committee last month who heard evidence from expert witnesses that more people are dying from air pollution in the UK than is officially recognised.



Newham has a high cancer rate and higher rates of deaths from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia than other parts of London or England. See www.newham.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/4721DB6E-CD4D-476C-BEA3-68D64C3CFDD3/0/NewhamDES1.doc Air pollution is a contributory factor in most respiratory conditions. Once the power station is operational, local residents will experience even higher levels of Nitrogen Dioxide and particulates in the air; these are linked to heart disease and cancer. Newham is already home to major sources of air pollution like London City Airport and the new Thames Water desalination plant. The London Development Agency has outlined plans for up to 1500 new homes in the vicinity of the new power station, increasing the population exposed to its pollution.



Last September, Ealing Council refused a near identical Blue NG development they proposed to build in Southall - on grounds of air pollution. Blue NG have appealed and the decision is being awaited from Secretary of State John Denham. Newham Friends of the Earth had asked Newham Council to await this decision before making theirs, but to no avail.



In February this year, Bristol City Council rejected plans for W4BRE to build a 50MW biofuel power station because they considered that the fuel - palm oil - causes too much environmental damage. Although Blue NG has claimed they will use UK grown rapeseed oil and not palm oil at Beckton and Southall, they have so far not agreed to sign any binding conditions that prevent them using palm oil. Because palm oil is considerably cheaper than other biofuels, it is very likely that Blue NG will switch to burning palm, as has happened in most of Germany’s 1200 biofuel power stations. Palm oil production causes rainforest destruction and threatens the habitats of many species including orang-utans and the Sumatran tiger. Large scale biofuel production is also linked to human rights abuses and land grabs in developing countries.



Maryla Hart from Food Not Fuel said: “Even if Blue NG do use UK grown rapeseed oil, this has still been shown to cause up to 59% more green house gas emissions during its lifetime than fossil fuels. Blue NG would need 8,700 hectares of land to grow enough oilseed rape to fuel the power station. This area of land is considerably bigger than Newham and could feed 25,000 British people. Expansion of biofuel use is making the UK ever more dependent on foreign imports of food and causing food price rises globally.”



The Government has just signalled a slow down in the growth of transport biofuels, saying it will delay confirming until next year how it plans to increase the levels in forecourt fuel between now and 2020. A Department for Transport official said on 6 April: "We do not take the risks presented by biofuel production lightly. Like all agricultural commodities, biofuels (grown in the wrong way or place) have the
potential to displace existing agricultural production into areas of forest or high carbon stock. This in turn could lead to increased green house gas emissions."



Robert Palgrave of Biofuelwatch said: "While one Government department, the DfT, is adopting a cautious approach to biofuel expansion, it seems that the Dept. for Energy and Climate Change is happy to promote and subsidise developments like Beckton and Southall which will accelerate growth in biofuel usage and worsen London's air quality. Meeting EU targets seems to be more important than the health of Londoners and the survival of tropical rainforests"



Contacts



Maryla Hart (Food not Fuel)

T: 07793 319141

E: maryla_h@hotmail.com



Robert Palgrave (Biofuelwatch)

T: 01483 762697

E: robertpalgrave@hotmail.com

 

Bristol W4B power station planning application thrown out

posted 25 Feb 2010 08:16 by Robert Palgrave

24 Feb 2010 - Councillors voted 6 - 2 to refuse planning permission, citing as the reason - 'Global Sustainability'.
 
They went against the advice of council planning officers who had recommended granting permission, and council legal officers who suggested in the meeting that global sustainability cannot be taken into account in a local planning decision.
 
Media coverage here
 
 
 
 
 
 

Southall Biofuel Power Station Inquiry Finished

posted 4 Feb 2010 09:54 by Maryla H   [ updated 9 Apr 2010 06:05 by John Ackers ]

Blue NG are appealing Ealing Council's decision not to build the Southall Biofuel Power Station. The inquiry took place in March 2010. We are waiting for the decision. For more info click here.

RENEWABLE FUELS AGENCY REPORT REVEALS SHOCKING IMPACT OF UK BIOFUELS‏

posted 1 Feb 2010 09:50 by Maryla H   [ updated 1 Feb 2010 09:56 ]

Commenting on a report published by the Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA) today (28 January 2010), which shows just 4 per cent of biofuel imported for use in the UK meets the environmental sustainability standard set by the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RFTO). 

Friends of the Earth’s biofuels campaigner Kenneth Richter said:

“In its first annual report the RFA paints a shocking picture of the true impact of biofuels being produced in the UK for use in our cars.

 “Just four per cent of biofuels imported from abroad are sustainably produced – the vast majority are causing deforestation and land use changes that are increasing climate changing emissions and pushing people off their land.

 “Biofuels are not the answer to our energy woes - the UK should scrap its biofuels targets.

 “We must focus our attention on developing greener transport alternatives to cars, such as fast and affordable rail services and cycling and walking.”

 

ENDS


Friends of the Earth press release

Embargo:        For immediate release, Thursday 28 January 2010

Contact:          Marie Reynolds, Friends of the Earth press office, 0207 566 1649

 

RENEWABLE FUELS AGENCY REPORT REVEALS SHOCKING IMPACT OF UK BIOFUELS

 

Notes to editors:

 

The report finds that only 4 per cent of biofuels imported for use in the UK – and 20 per cent of all biofuels used in the UK – meet the RTFO environmental sustainability standard.

The Renewable Fuels Agency says this “provides little assurance about the way the feedstock was grown and any environmental and social impacts it may have had.”

 

In a case study looking at the effects of the production of Malaysian palm oil – which is imported to the UK – the report found that:

·         It will take 130 years to pay back the carbon emissions caused by deforestation to make way for oil palm plantations in the area;

·         Oil palm plantations that have required land clearance are linked to water pollution and soil erosion;

·         Affected communities will typically lose some or all of their traditional means of support from the forest, becoming more vulnerable to food and financial insecurity;

·         Land conflicts in the state of Sarawak are almost ubiquitous on new estates;

·          “The evidence seems compelling that increased demand for palm oil biodiesel is a contributory driver to deforestation and peat degradation in parts of Malaysia.”

 

Although the report notes a 46 per cent reduction in carbon emissions under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, this figure does not take into account emissions caused by direct and indirect changes in land use that have occurred to make way for biofuel crops. 42 per cent of land use before biofuel crops were planted was stated as “unknown”.

 

Nearly two years after the Government’s own Gallagher Review found that indirect land use changes caused by the drive for biofuels were increasing carbon emissions, there is still no system in place to account for them. Indirect land use change includes, for example, the displacement of farmland being used for food production onto forest land.  The Renewable Fuels Agency states that if indirect land use change was left unchecked, biofuels “could potentially cause an increase in overall carbon emissions rather than a reduction.”

 

Friends of the Earth research in April 2009 showed that indirect land use changes as the result of biofuel production could have doubled the carbon emissions of the fossil fuels they replace - equivalent to putting half a million extra cars on the road - since a new law adding them to UK fuel came into force in April 2008.

http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/biofuels_double_carbon_emissions_15042009.html

 

Modelling by the UK Department for Transport estimates that by 2020 45 per cent of Europe’s biodiesel could come from Malaysian and Indonesian palm oil, equalling additional demand for palm oil of approximately 14 billion litres (source: “Global and EU Biofuel Scenarios to 2020” presentation, Taro Hallworth, Department for Transport).

 

Friends of the Earth believes the environment is for everyone. We want a healthy planet and a good quality of life for all those who live on it. We inspire people to act together for a thriving environment. Over 90 per cent of our income comes from individuals so we rely on donations to continue our vital work. For further information visit www.foe.co.uk.

 

 

 

Portland Palm Oil Power Station Approved

posted 22 Jan 2010 05:23 by Maryla H   [ updated 22 Jan 2010 05:47 ]

Weymouth & Portland Council planning committee decided on 6 January to grant permission for W4B's biofuel power station at Portland.  The power station will burn palm oil and increase by one third the volume of palm oil currently being imported to this country for energy usage (transport biofuel).

The committee reviewed the three reasons given for refusing the previous application in September and decided W4B had done enough to address all of them:

1. human health impact assessment

2. visual appearance

3. distance the fuel is transported

Note that on the last point, the committee only took account of the carbon analysis relating to the transport of fuel, and ruled out any consideration of the greenhouse gas impacts and other environmental impacts of producing the fuel or even burning it.

The voting was 6 - 5 for granting permission. All 6 Conservative councillors voted for, all three Lib Dems, one Labour and the one Independent voted against.

Despite about 25 objectors speaking each for 3 minutes, a total of 860 objections received plus a last minute petition of Portland residents numbering around 400, Conservative councillors were resolute that:

1. they don't have to take account of wider environmental impacts when making this decision

2. the RSPO is a trustworthy organisation and will ensure the palm oil is sustainable

3. having a possible 22 local jobs and a bit more income from use of Portland port are more important than impacts on people living in palm oil producing countries, the air pollution imposed on people living in Portland itself including the nearby prison, on tourists who will have their enjoyment of the local area ruined, and the devastating effects of de-forestation on climate and biodiversity.

The committee chairman warned the councillors that refusing permission would lead to an appeal, which could cost the council a lot of money and as a result other services might be put at risk. Ironic therefore that since getting permission, W4B has continued with its appeal against the refusal on the first application - which will of course cost the council money.

A local resident's letter in the Dorset Echo described how the chairman went on the attack once the objectors had spoken, (see below).

Minutes of the planning committee meeting will be on the Weymouth Council website from 25 January.

You can send in comments on the appeal at the Planning Inspector's website. The deadline for comments is 1st March.

Weymouth now has the dubious accolade of being the first council in the UK to allow palm oil to be used for electricity generation.

Some facts about Portland biofuel power station:

1. It will increase by one third the volume of palm oil currently being imported to this country for energy usage (transport biofuel). W4B's Bristol power station will double it. And W4B are intent on building more power stations.

2. Total palm oil consumption in the EU in 2005 equated to 9.7kg per person per year. That was for food, cosmetics and other purposes. The Portland power station will consume 30,000 tonnes of palm oil per year, equivalent to 460 kg per person in Weymouth and 43 kg per person in Dorset.

3. The default greenhouse gas saving for palm oil given in the EU Renewable Energy Directive is just 26%. That excludes any consideration of indirect land use change. W4B's electricity from Portland is therefore far from green. Offshore wind farms are now being developed for the Dorset coast which will deliver much greater supplies of electricity with close to 100% GHG savings.

 A local resident's letter in the Dorset Echo described how the chairman went on the attack once the objectors had spoken (below).  To make the image bigger press CTRL and + at the same time to get desired size.

 

U.S. Feeds One Quarter of its Grain to Cars While Hunger is on the Rise

posted 21 Jan 2010 08:52 by Maryla H

January 21, 2010, Earth Policy Institute Study. 


The 107 million tons of grain that went to U.S. ethanol distilleries in 2009 was enough to feed 330 million people for one year at average world consumption levels. More than a quarter of the total U.S. grain crop was turned into ethanol to fuel cars last year. With 200 ethanol distilleries in the country set up to transform food into fuel, the amount of grain processed has tripled since 2004…


For rest of article please see http://www.earthpolicy.org/index.php?/press_room/C68/2010_datarelease6

Planning Committee Dates for 2010

posted 30 Dec 2009 06:47 by Maryla H

Power Station Decision Dates for 2010

 

The dates of the planning committee decisions (or boards as they are known in Yorkshire) have been postponed for the proposed Bristol, Portland and Sheffield Agrofuel Power Stations. 

 

The decision on W4Bs Portland, Dorset Power Station will be taken by Weymouth and Portland Planning Committee on Wed 6th January 2010 at 2.30.

 

The decision on the Rocpower’s Sheffield plant will be made on Tues 12th Jan or Tues 2nd February. 

 

The Bristol decision will be taken by Development Control (North) Committee meeting on 20th January 2010.

 

 

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