Friday, October 09, 2009

Oppose this unsustainable, ungreen biofuel power station plan for Avonmouth

Just joined the Facebook group Stop Bristol's Biofuel Power Station because I'm very strongly opposed to power stations that plan to burn non-recycled and imported biofuels produced with massive social and environmental impacts. I've sent the group's suggested email of objection to the planning application (Ref 09/03235/F) to: and urge others to send similar messages.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: W4B Renewable Energy application for a biofuel power station at Avonmouth Docks, Ref 09/03235/F

I wish to object to W4B’s planning application to build a 50 MW biofuel power station at Avonmouth Docks, which would burn 90,000 tonnes of vegetable oil every year. I am deeply concerned about the impact of biofuels such as palm oil on the climate, on rainforests and other ecosystems and on communities in the global South. In Italy and Germany, a large number of biofuel power stations are already operating and virtually all of them run on palm oil which is by far the cheapest vegetable oil. Jatropha oil, also mentioned in the application, is not available commercially so far, yet already many thousands of people in Tanzania, Ghana and India are losing their land, livelihoods and in some cases their forests to jatropha plantations.

If the power station were run on palm oil only, it would require over 22,000 hectares of plantations – and even more for any other feedstock. According to the UN, palm oil is the main cause of deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia. It is responsible for billions of tonnes of carbon emissions, as forests are destroyed and peatlands converted to plantations. In countries like Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Colombia, growing numbers of indigenous peoples, small farmers and other rural communities are being forced off their land, often through violence.

Bristol City Council must consider the climate and wider sustainability impacts of planning decisions and I believe that this means that the development should be rejected.

I am also concerned about the impacts of the proposed biofuel power station on air quality and thus on the health of the local population, particularly in Avonmouth but potentially also in Hallen Village and Severn Beach Village. Avonmouth is already designated as an Air Quality Management Area, with concerns over PM10 levels. The power station will worsen PM10 levels, as well as those of NOx and PM 2.5, and will add to the pollution from two large biomass power stations in the area for which plans are currently being considered.
Local news reports on the issue:
There is also an e-petition opposing the power plant - please sign it!!