4th Dec Goole Demo at Planning Inspectorate Hearing for Drax switch from coal to gas

The Planning Inspectorate is examining Drax Power Station plans to replace its two remaining coal-fired units with a much larger power station (3.6GW) burning fossil (natural) gas.  This will, if granted, allow Drax to secure its position as the UK’s biggest fossil fuel burner for decades to come!

The Planning Inspectorate held a  preliminary hearing for this in October and the next hearing will be in Goole on 4th December.

Biofuelwatch intend to hold a short and respectful banner protest outside this hearing, starting at 1.30pm as people are going in to the hearing and finishing at 2pm so they can go in and listen to the hearing too.

The Goole demo will be a good opportunity to let the Planning Inspectorate know (again) that there is widespread opposition to Drax’s proposal on the grounds of climate change.
If this gas development goes ahead, it will tie the U.K. into the long-term burning of more fossil fuels at a time when we need to drastically reduce our carbon emissions to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Drax claims on its website that this is part of their “strategy to play a vital role in changing the way energy is generated as the UK moves to a low carbon future.” The reality is that Drax made a net loss last year and switching to burning gas would allow the power station to keep operating once the government’s pledge to phase out ‘unabated coal’ by 2025 comes into force.

Biofuelwatch would like to hear from people in Yorkshire and local to Drax as the demo (and the campaign as a whole) will be more effective if local people have ownership of it. So please contact fran@biofuelwatch.org.uk  asap with any comments or concerns.

90,000 people have signed a petition objecting to the continuing use of fossil fuels for electricity generation and 81 diverse groups signed the Biofuelwatch open letter to the Planning Inspectorate.

Drax has recently bought Scottish Power’s four remaining gas fired power stations, as Scottish Power has moved to 100% wind generation. The four gas plants are in Kent, Hertfordshire, Sussex and Lancashire.

The chief executive of Drax Group, Will Gardiner, said this gives the company “attractive options” to build further new gas units, if it can make the economics work.

The Guardian reports that Drax will see an immediate boost in its earnings, adding an estimated £90m-£110m profit in 2019. The company made a profit of £229m in 2017.

The acquisition means that if the company fails to secure the subsidies needed for the new gas power station it wants to build at its North Yorkshire site – or if Planning permission is refused – then it will still have a broad portfolio.


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