Labour backs "crazy" fuel ban which would threaten 6,000 UK jobs

17-Jan-2018 @ 01:00

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Labour backs "crazy" fuel ban which would threaten 6,000 UK jobs

Labour MEPs were under fire today for potentially jeopardising jobs and the drive for renewable energy at Yorkshire's giant Drax power plant.

They faced criticism after supporting Green MEPs in moves to impose severe restrictions on use of one of the generator's prime sources of biomass fuel, roundwood.

The fuel is produced from off-cuts as a by-product of the timber industry and at Drax is sourced only from sustainable forests to strict criteria.

But in a vote in the European Parliament in Strasbourg today on a new framework for renewable energy, Labour supported a Green amendment effectively banning use of roundwood as bio-mass fuel.

Despite the support of UK Labour and their colleagues in the Socialist and Democrat Group of the European Parliament, however, the amendment was voted down.

Yorkshire and the Humber Conservative MEP Amjad Bashir said: "Roundwood makes up some 40 per cent of the fuel used at this ground-breaking power station. Drax is targeted to produce 16 per cent of the UK's renewable energy, but that will be undermined without roundwood as an important part of the fuel mix. To ban it would be crazy. It flies in the face of all the evidence about sound ecology.

"Drax has been hailed a poster child for renewable power and green electricity. It supports 6,000 jobs in our region at the plant, at docks on the Humber and the Tyne and across the supply chain. Fortunately for the Drax company, for its workforce and for our energy mix, they did not get their way."

Fellow Yorkshire and the Humber Conservative MEP John Procter added: "Labour MEPs are fully aware that Drax has spent millions of pounds converting the power station entirely to biomass, yet today they put the project at risk by backing this needless ban. They have let Yorkshire down by undermining the company by supporting moves that would have cost our region jobs and damage the UK's renewable energy sector."


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