This morning 11 people entered the site of the proposed Helius wood fired Biomass Power Plant, spelling out the message ‘no biomess’ in body paint on their naked torsos. The Pro renewable energy campaigners from Bristol Rising Tide breached Port security at 9.50 am on land next to St Andrews Road Station.
For some great pictures of the action, see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/123175252@N04/
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Jo Edwards explained:
“Industrial scale biomass trashes global forests and local health. This is a friendly shot across the bows – if investors and the Port try to dump more toxic dust and dodgy energy generation on Avonmouth they’re going to find the construction process difficult, expensive & very embarrassing”
If built, the power station would burn 850,000 tonnes of imported wood chip each year and contribute to climate change through CO2 emissions and deforestation.
In a recent BBC interview the company responsible, Helius conceded that at least half of the fuel burnt wouldn’t be UK waste wood. Similar imports to the country’s biggest power station Drax come from clear cutting forests in North America. Importing this amount of wood will drive deforestation, habitat and biodiversity loss and human rights abuses in exporting countries.
Chris Thomson added:
“We’re here today in solidarity with communities affected by deforestation to power far-away countries, as well as Avonmouth locals. Residents here are already badly affected by the toxic wood dust from biomass pellet processing that’s brought a rise in respiratory problems to the area ,” said xxxx, who has taken the day off work to attend the protest. “It is in the Port corporation’s power to refuse to lease the land to Helius Energy for this destructive proposal. We wanted to come here while there’s still time to prevent it.”
“Big biomass is a scam waiting to be exposed- an industry dependent on public subsidies which can’t be maintained. Leaks from the government’s own Department for Energy and Climate Change make it clear that industrial scale biomass is worse for the climate than coal, as well as spreading potentially lethal pollution to neighbouring communities. Financers and the Port could be supporting real renewables instead: more wind, wave and solar power would generate more jobs, a lasting return and provide genuine energy security. It’s a no brainer.”
“Although biomass is currently classified as ‘renewable energy’ by the UK government, large-scale biomass is neither renewable nor environmentally friendly. Even the Mayor has conceded that this biomass proposal is incompatible with Bristol’s aspirations of being a ‘European green capital’ in 2015”.
Residents of Avonmouth are concerned about air pollution and health impacts of the plant: emissions could include nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and small particulates from wood dust.
Bristol Rising Tide act independently from but are members of the Avon Coalition Against Big Biofuels.