Environmental group calls for the UK to end biomass subsidies

11th September 2020 | Commercial Energy

Currently, the UK spends almost £1.5bn on subsidies to biomass plants. The Cut Carbon Not Forests Coalition is urging Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee to consider the impact that these subsidies are having on biodiversity loss. According to the coalition, not only do these subsidies degrade sensitive overseas forests, but they also exceed the UK’s total commitment to biodiversity support.

In 2019, the government unveiled a £1.2bn fund for climate and endangered species, and in the same year, subsidies to Drax and other biomass-burning power stations contributed to forest degradation and climate change. Almuth Ernsting from the Cut Carbon Not Forest coalition said, “These subsidies are counterproductive to the Government’s stated goals on conservation and climate change – not to mention incoherent, hypocritical and economically wasteful at a time of budgetary strain in this country.

Biomass Subsidies

“As such, they dangerously undermine the UK’s leadership on these critical issues, both at home and abroad. Drawing a line under damaging biomass subsidies will help to repair the UK’s awkward legacy of reliance on biomass electricity. This reversal will be a step toward undoing the current biodiversity crisis and must be at the core of how the UK bolsters its conservation policies and invests in a truly green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, upwards of £1.5bn per year is paid to companies that burn trees for electricity – this is outrageous. Right now, the government has the power to make things right and reinvest in genuine climate and conservation solutions.”

In related news, natural regeneration is the key to saving Britain’s forests, according to Rewilding Britain. Allowing trees to naturally establish over huge areas could massively expand Britain’s woodlands at a fraction of the cost of tree planting.

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