Warning of the dangers of big biomass projects in Scotland

1 September 2011

Friends of the Earth Scotland has been upping its efforts to raise the profile of the threat of big bio­mass developments. Scotland has the most ambitious renew­able energy target in Europe of 100% renewable energy by 2020. But as part of efforts to reach that target, the government is heavily subsidising big biomass projects which rely on importing the vast majority of wood from overseas. This threatens the world's forest supplies and undermines the government's commitment to sourcing renewable energy and sustainably locally.

Four biomass power plants are currently proposed by developer Forth Energy. If approved, they would combust a total 5.3m tonnes of wood per year, sourced from Scandinavia, the Balkans, and Florida. There are also concerns that the plants, if approved will worsen the air quality in the areas adjacent to the developments.

In the town of Grangemouth, where one of the plants is proposed, air quality is already in excess of the European Union designated standards, and will only be worsened if the development goes ahead. Friends of the Earth Scotland has been supporting the efforts of local activists opposing the plants through a public appeal for objections to the plant.

Speaking on behalf of Grangemouth Community Council, which is opposed to the planet, Walter Inglis told Friends of the Earth Scotland that, "Our sole aim has been has been to ensure that our local community environment is not further degraded in pursuit of a perceived national economic gain. Grangemouth and its residents have over many decades paid a high price in environmental terms to sustain national economic growth associated with the oil and chemical industries".

Friends of the Earth Scotland has also been raising the profile of unsustainable biomass in the Scottish Parliament. Member of the Scottish Parliament Angus MacDonald for Falkirk East, of the Scottish National Party, submit­ted a motion to Parliament calling on Scottish ministers to reject Forth Energy's proposals.