Monday, May 16, 2011

Activists blockade access to Forth Energy biomass burner

This is good news! These proposals would burn 5.3 million tons of wood per year harvested from forests elsewhere in the world and imported to the Grangemouth Port based facilities to be burned. 

Action Against Agrofuels Media Release – For Immediate Use Monday 16th May

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY (see below for details)

Environmental and human rights activists block off port to stop Forth Energy's „mad" biomass plans

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

Johnny Agnew from Glasgow, one of the protestors 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."

Kimberley Ellis from Dundee, another protestor 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.


On-site Media Contact: Maryla: 07793 319141

Photo Opportunity:

Tripod with banners on North Shore Road roundabout and arm tube blockade with banner at South Shore Road near the corner of Powerdrake Road. Photos can also be emailed upon requst.

Notes to editor:

- [1]The four power stations which will produce a total 530MW will burn a

total of 5.3 million tones 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

Rachel Smolker
Biofuelwatch/Energy Justice Network
802.482.2848 (o)
802.735 7794 (m)
skype: Rachel Smolker

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Biofuels are a wide range of fuels which are in some way derived from biomass.

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