Monday, March 31, 2014

[Biofuelwatch] Biofuelwatch March Newsletter




Biofuelwatch February Newsletter
Biofuelwatch March Newsletter
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Dear subscriber, this is the March edition of our monthly UK newsletter, with details of recent news from bioenergy campaigns. Please let us know if you would like more information about particular campaign issues/news or if you'd like to find out about getting involved in any relevant campaigns.
In this newsletter:

 
1. Great news from Scotland: Forth Energy drops all biomass power station plans.
 
2. Taking Action in April - Two important protests in London against big biomass
 
3. Stop the Green Investment Bank funding a forest-destroying and polluting biomass power station in Avonmouth.
 
4. Update from the local campaign against the biomass power station plans in Avonmouth
 
5. Final chance to contribute to our fundraising appeal for communities resisting eucalyptus monocultures in Maranhão, Brazil.
 
6. News roundup of other UK developments.

 

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1. Great news from Scotland: Forth Energy drops all biomass power station plans.

A few days ago, Forth Energy announced that they are withdrawing their planning application for a biomass power station in Dundee and that they will not go ahead with plans for two other biomass power stations, in Grangemouth and Rosyth.  A fourth application in Leith (Edinburgh) was withdrawn in 2012.  Had they been realised, the Dundee, Grangemouth and Rosyth power stations would have burned a total of 3.5 million tonnes of wood all together.
 
Forth Energy's plans had faced high levels of opposition – with nearly 1,000 local objections in Grangemouth alone. Whilst campaigners in Dundee (including Friends of the Earth Tayside, who led a strong local campaign) are celebrating a full success, it is still possible for another company to buy the planning consents for Grangemouth and Rosyth.  Campaigners are warning that any company considering doing so would face strong opposition.
 
See here for our press release and here for coverage on BBC news.
 

2. Taking Action in April - Two important protests in London against big biomass          

 If you live in or near London, please come along to two important protests against some of the biggest players in the biomass industry in the UK:

The Biomess Awards on the 9th
 
On Wednesday, 9th April at 7pm we'll be meeting outside the Gibson Hall, 13 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 3BA, where some of the biggest corporate names in biomass will be treating themselves to a 'Gala Awards Dinner'. We will show our contempt for this celebration of corporate profits at the expense of forests, climate and people's health, by holding an alternative Biomess Awards ceremony. 

If you haven't voted for the Biggest Biomass Baddie yet, you can still do so: http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/biomess-awards/. Please help us spread the word by inviting others to our facebook events page, by forwarding this email, and by tweeting with #biomessawards/

Drax AGM protest on the 23rd
 
And on Wednesday, 23rd April, at 12 noon, we will be protesting outside the Drax AGM.  Drax is burning more wood and more coal than any other power station in the UK and they are planning to burn pellets made from 16 million tonnes of wood a year (1.6 times the total annual wood supply in the UK) in future.  For more details and for a list of organisations that support the protest, please see
www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2014/drax-agm-2014/
Please help us spread the word through our facebook events page, by emailing others about it and by tweeting with #protestdrax.
 

3. Stop the Green Investment Bank funding a forest-destroying and polluting biomass power station in Avonmouth.
 
Thanks to everybody who previously wrote to the Green Investment Bank (GIB) and urged them not to fund Forth Energy's destructive biomass power stations. Now that Forth Energy have dropped their biomass plans, we no longer need to worry about them getting money from the GIB.  However, we have just seen an announcement from Helius Energy that they are now in discussions with the GIB to try and get a cheap loan for a biomass power station in Avonmouth, near Bristol, that would burn around 1 million tonnes of imported wood every year.
 
Please go to www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2014/gib-avonmouth-alert/ to find out more and to tell the GIB that they must not fund forest-destruction and pollution for biomass in Avonmouth, or anywhere else.

4. Update from the local campaign against the biomass power station plans in Avonmouth
 
Now named the Avon Coalition Against Big Biofuels (ACABB) to include the proposals by W4B for a palm oil power station at Avonmouth, the coalition continues to strengthen. It has held 2 information sessions for councillors, 2 public meetings at Bristol and Avonmouth, presented at a full Council meeting and attended the Mayor's question-time, at which he made strong statements against biofuels and agreed to write urging the Treasury to drop loan guarantees for biomass projects. Representatives also attended the Helius AGM and made a short film outside explaining the issues.
 
On Saturday 12 April the Coalition is holding a Big Bike Bash Against Industrial Biomass, a red-trousered bike ride (the mayor's trademark leg wear) to urge him to continue strongly  to oppose W4B's and Helius Energy's proposals as being against the aims of Bristol's status as European Green Capital 2015.
 
Helius could fold if it fails to get investment quite soon. RBS and the Green Investment Bank (see alert above) are quoted as interested in financing the project. The Coalition plans to target potential investors. 

To find out more about this campaign, please see www.avoncoalitionagainstbigbiofuels.org.uk/what-you-can-do/.  And if you live in or near Bristol/Avonmouth and might like to get involved, please contact info@avoncoalitionagainstbigbiofuels.org.uk.
 

5. Final chance to contribute to our fundraising appeal for communities resisting eucalyptus monocultures in Maranhão, Brazil.
 
Thanks to everybody who has already donated funds to support communities fighting large-scale eucalyptus plantations in the Brazilian state of Maranhão.  We will keep this funding appeal open until 13th April.  All money donated will go to a local organisation (Carajás Forum) who will assist the communities in developing projects to diversify agricultural production and increase their income in truly sustainable ways.  Such projects are vital for enabling local people to continue resisting efforts by plantation companies such as Suzano. Suzano seeks to take away their land and convert it into eucalyptus monocultures for pulp and paper, charcoal production for pig iron, and potentially for wood pellets for Europe.  To find out more and donate money, please go to http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2014/donate-to-maranhao-communities/ .
 

6. News roundup of other UK developments
 
The Treasury has made no further announcements about public loan guarantees.  So far they have only given one (to Drax) and the European Commission are looking into this and will decide whether to launch a full investigation into a possible breach of EU State Aid rules.  So there is still time to tell the Treasury not to fund any more biomass power station investments and to spread the word about this: http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2013/ukguaranteescheme-alert/ .
 
Drax has now started building two new pellet plants in Louisiana and Mississippi.  Both are close to highly biodiverse native forests (including several wildlife reserves in Louisiana), raising serious concerns about these forests' future. 
 
RWE has not yet announced whether to proceed with the conversion of the Lynemouth coal power station and no final announcement has been made as to whether Eggborough power station will be converted to biomass or closed down. 
 
2014 Biofuelwatch,
http://biofuelwatch.org.uk/


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