The UK government’s new Green Investment Bank in Edinburgh is facing its first protests for backing the burning of millions of tonnes of wood from abroad in power stations.
MSPs from three political parties, environmental groups and community representatives have this weekend written to the bank saying they are “deeply concerned” that it is supporting big biomass plants. Demonstrations are also planned at its annual meetings in Edinburgh and London this week.
The bank has loaned £50 million to help the UK’s largest power station, Drax in North Yorkshire, switch from burning coal to burning wood. But critics say this will mean having to import up to 15 million tonnes of trees a year from North America and is a “false solution” to climate pollution.
There are also fears that the bank could rescue floundering plans for new wood-burning plants at Grangemouth and Rosyth. The controversial proposals have planning permission, but the developers, Forth Ports and the energy company SSE, pulled out in March.
A joint letter to the bank signed by 18 organisations and individuals says that backing polluting biomass plants undermines the bank’s credibility as an environmentally responsible investor. It urges the bank to revoke its loan for Drax, and rule out financial support for plants at Rosyth and Grangemouth.