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Newly Launched Renewable Energy Consultation met by Activist Fury

Action Against Agrofuels | 23.10.2011 15:35 | Bio-technology | Climate Chaos | Ecology

Members of Action Against Agrofuels, dressed in Orangutan suits, climbed 10m up trees above The Mall 200m from Buckingham Palace with a vast banner reading “Biomassacre: Don’t subsidise it” as the government consultation on renewable energy subsidies commences.

Biomassacre - Don't subsidise it
Biomassacre - Don't subsidise it

Activists are furious that the most unsustainable and environmentally
damaging form of energy is being branded ‘green’ and wins one of the
highest levels of subsidies for power generation. This, activists state
diverts venture capital away from true renewables such as wind and solar.

This follows a gathering of about 80 protesters outside DECC (the
Department of Energy and Climate Change) called by Biofuelwatch and the
Campaign against Climate Change yesterday calling for a complete halt to
subsidising bioenergy.

Biomass power station applications are appearing all over the UK as
venture capitalists seek to profit from burning biofuels and wood chips.
Activists say that subsidies are not just destroying ecosystems but are
driving land grabs at an unprecedented rate. Land previously available
for food production is now being taken for energy crops with serious
implications for global food poverty. This is because consent on just the
current planning applications would require woodchip imports of nearly six
times the total UK production, all of which is currently allocated.

Andrew Butler commented that “We’re seeing the start of unjustified
payments to burn wood and vegetable oil to produce electricity on an
industrial scale, depriving millions of people of the land they need to
grow food. We’re also seeing an onslaught on the world’s last great
forests exacerbating biodiversity loss and climate change. To cap it all,
we’re being forced to pay for this with mandatory surcharges on our energy

Ironically even the government’s own think tank the RFA, and more recently
the European Environment Agency2 as well as the UN Environment Programme3
have all cautioned that liquid biofuels and biomass (wood chip and wood
pellets) could speed up deforestation, land grabs and climate change.

Burning biomass also has severe local impacts. Increased air pollution
from particulate toxins and arsenic released when liquid biofuels and in
particular wood chips are burnt are set to trigger health problems on an
unprecedented scale.

Ali Connolly stated “At home too the impacts are devastating. Ex-minister
Jim Fitzpatrick acknowledged research stating that the health cost to the
British public from toxic emissions at 1.5 million life years annually.
The coalition government is condemning all those living within the
vicinity of these power stations to an early grave.”

The consultation document confirms subsidy proposals of 1.5 ROCs
(Renewable Obligation Certificates) for bioenergy beyond 2013. This is an
unprecedented bonanza amounting to £3billion of free money just for the
bioenergy power stations already proposed. A flood of new applications
will undoubtedly follow.

Media Contacts:

Oran Kalsi: 07733 788 195
Maryla Hart: 07793 319 141


1. ROCs Consultation Information about the Consultation on the Renewables
Obligation Banding Review can be found at

2. The European Environment Agency provides independent information on the
environment to the EU. Its September 2011 report on bioenergy stated,
'Hence, legislation that encourages substitution of fossil fuels by
bioenergy, irrespective of the biomass source, may even result in
increased carbon emissions – thereby accelerating global warming.' The
full report can be found

3. The United Nations Environment Programme 2011 Report, ‘The Rush for Land
and Its Potential Environmental Consequence’, can be found at

Action Against Agrofuels