CAMPAIGNERS from Warrington will be taking action on Friday against Drax Power Station in Yorkshire – which they claim is the UK’s biggest polluter.
The Axe Drax group, a coalition between Biofuelwatch, Extinction Rebellion and Save Rimrose Valley will stage creative and peaceful protests at 12 locations along the Drax train line, including at Warrington Bank Quay station.
The train transports wood pellets from the United States from Liverpool Port to Drax Power Station in Yorkshire.
The campaigners are calling for an end to Drax’s tree-burning and its train of destruction that carves a path through the north.
They will also call on MPs to transfer around £1 billion in UK renewable subsidies from biomass burning power stations like Drax to genuine renewables.
Extinction Rebellion Warrington are planning a non-disruptive banner drop as the train passes through Bank Quay station to highlight the issue.
Activists are meeting at the corner of BankPark at 12:30pm on Friday and all are welcome – provided they wear face masks.
Paul Sheeky, spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Warrington said:“I was horrified when I found out that taxpayer subsidies for renewable energy were being used to clear-cut forests in the US.
“More people need to know the truth about this Drax scam.”
About 12 trains, usually of 25 wagons, take the wood pellets to Drax every day.
The wagons bear slogans such as “Biofuels-powering the future” and “Pioneering the northern powerhouse.”
Campaigner Maggie Smith, from Yorkshire, said: “Drax Power Station burns 12 million tonnes of trees every year
“Despite being legally classified as ‘renewable’ by the UK government, it remains the largest carbon emitter in the UK. This takes advantage of a carbon accounting loophole, meaning they are able to exclude the carbon cost of clear felling forests in the US when they are burnedin the UK.
“ In 2019 Drax emitted almost 13 million tonnes of CO₂ from burning wood, and received £2.36 million in subsidies daily with £2.61 million counted as renewable subsidies.
“This is a grave misuse of public money, and Axe Drax are calling for an end to all subsidies for Drax and for them to be transferred towards funding genuine renewable energy projects.
“We are taking action, not only because of the environmental damage caused, but also the immediate and destructive impact Drax has upon human lives.”
Communities in the Southern United States, near the pellet mills, suffer air, water and noise pollution, she said.
A Drax spokesperson said: “As an operator of critical national infrastructure Drax’s key workers are operating around the clock to generate and supply the electricity the country needs during the Covid crisis.
“Drax is the UK’s largest renewable power generator, using sustainable biomass to generate the electricity that powers millions of homes and businesses.
“Since converting two thirds of the power station in North Yorkshire to use sustainable biomass instead of coal, we have delivered carbon savings of more than 80%, making Drax the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. And by pioneering bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) we could go further – delivering on our world-leading ambition to be a carbon negative company by 2030.”