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Protests against trains that fuel a power station

PROTESTS took place along a railway line between Liverpool and a Yorkshire power station today against the burning of wood to generate electricity.

Drax power station in North Yorkshire used to be the biggest coal-fired power station in Europe – and the worst polluter.

Two of its three generators have now been converted from burning coal to wood, while the Drax group is also going over to gas-fired energy production.

But environment campaigners say that the wooden pellets that Drax burns come from the felling of forests in the United States, Russia, and South America.

Twelve campaign groups have formed an AxeDrax group. They include Extinction Rebellion, Liverpool-based Save Rimrose Valley, which is working to defend parkland in the city, and Biofuelwatch.

Today’s protests along the railway from Liverpool’s Peel Dock to Drax included demonstrations at stations and banner drops from bridges.

In West Yorkshire, demonstrations were held at the stations in the  Calder Valley towns of Todmorden and Hebden Bridge.

At the latter, Isla Lay, 13, told the Morning Star: “We are against Drax because they claim to use biomass fuel as a clean energy source, but they are getting trees from places like South America.

“The government pays them to do that. They claim it is good for the environment, but actually it is really bad because they are cutting down trees, transporting them and burning them.”

A spokesperson for the coalition said: “Drax is already the UK’s single largest emitter of carbon dioxide, burning more wood than any other power station in the world whilst continuing to burn coal. 

“Drax power station has now been given the go-ahead to build the country’s largest-ever gas power plant and is asking for substantial new subsidies, in addition to the £2.36 million a day it already receives for burning biomass.”

A Drax spokesperson said: “Drax is the UK’s largest renewable power generator, using sustainable biomass to generate the electricity that powers millions of homes and businesses.

“Since converting two-thirds of the power station in North Yorkshire to use sustainable biomass instead of coal, we have delivered carbon savings of more than 80 per cent, making Drax the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.” 

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