MSPs join biomass subsidies protest, 18 April 2012
MSPs joined campaign groups outside Holyrood as they protested against public subsidies for wood-burning power plants.
The demonstration by organisations Biofuelwatch, No Leith Biomass Campaign, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Grangemouth Community Council urged the Scottish Government to take action on biomass power plants.
Campaigners said companies like Forth Energy are set to receive about £170 million of public money every year for proposed biomass power stations in Dundee, Rosyth and Grangemouth.
Forth Energy withdrew plans for a large biomass station in Leith in February. Ayrshire Power, which proposes to build a coal and biomass power station at Hunterston in Ayrshire, stands to gain more than £91 million a year from "co-firing" biomass if their project is approved, according to campaigners.
Biofuelwatch campaigner Emilia Hanna said: "If all planned biomass power stations in Scotland receive planning permission, they will collectively burn more than five times the amount of wood that is available in Scotland to the industry.
"This trend is being mirrored across the globe, leading to the destruction of the world's forests, which are vital carbon sinks in the fight against climate change. The biomass industry is being artificially inflated by heavy subsidies."
Speaking at the protest, Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: "Chopping down swathes of foreign forest to burn for electricity in Scotland would be monumentally daft and the Scottish Government must make sure that this is not supported with taxpayer money.
"Burning trees for electricity on a large-scale is totally inefficient and a waste of money in a country with a world-leading renewables industry that needs investment."
Labour spokeswoman for environment Claire Baker added: "It is time the SNP Government's actions matched their rhetoric on biomass. The SNP say they don't like big biomass plants but they refuse to give us any detail on what they plan to do about them.
"Renewable energy subsidies and incentives must work in the best interests of our future energy needs. That is why we are calling on the SNP Government to remove subsidies from inefficient large-scale electricity only biomass plants."
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