Government response

Response to Daily Mail article on biomass at Drax

DECC rebuttal of the Daily Mail article on biomass at Drax.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


We don’t recognise the figure used in the Daily Mail article on 7 October saying that government subsidies for the conversion of Drax’s coal-burning furnaces to biomass ones will put £23 on annual household energy bills for the next 13 years.

It is also wrong to describe biomass as a ‘grotesque environmental charade’. Professor David Mackay’s model shows that North American biomass used in the UK can be low carbon, for example, when sourced from diseased trees, broken branches or unused sawdust that would otherwise be burned as a waste.

The UK is introducing some of the toughest sustainability standards in the world. Individual generators will need to report not only their greenhouse gas savings – which must be a minimum of 68% compared to coal - but also provide information on the type and source of biomass. From next year, biomass that doesn’t meet these sustainability criteria will not be supported by Government.

We are investing in sustainable biomass to help us transition to a low carbon future, which will strengthen our energy security and provide a better deal for consumers by reducing our reliance on polluting fossil fuels and volatile foreign markets.

Published 7 October 2014