Zac Goldsmith said he planned to “look very closely” at how wood used in industrial biomass burners run by energy company Drax was sourced.
Speaking to the environment, food and rural affairs committee, the environment minister said: “When you’ve got a system as big as Drax, then if you get it even slightly wrong in terms of the input that’s going to have big implications, so we’ve got to be sure that we’re not.
“I’m not an expert on this, and I probably will never be an expert, but I will be looking more in detail.”
It comes after an investigation by The Telegraph linked Drax’s suppliers to logging in some of Europe’s most important forests, including rare habitats that are supposed to be protected under EU law.
Similar concerns have been raised over trees used to make pellets in the US and Canada which are then shipped to be burnt in the North Yorkshire power plant.
Drax and its suppliers argue that they abide by the strictest sustainability standards and that all allegations about the supply are unfounded.
Despite Drax receiving £2.3 million a day in green subsidies from the Government – on the basis that the trees are a renewable energy source because they are replanted – the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has admitted it does not collect information on where the trees are replanted.
Entirely and wholly missing the point. The energy required to produce (not grow, but cut, chop up, transport) the wood chips makes this entirely not CO2 net zero over time.
Which forest is cut down doesn’t matter – no forest should be for this stupidity. But guess what they’re going to go check? The stupid bit, right?