Posts Tagged ‘wood’

Axe the Draxosaurus – 2016

Saturday, April 20th, 2024

Axe the Draxosaurus – On Wedesday 20th April 2016 environmental activists protested outside the AGM of Drax Plc at Grocer’s Hall next to the Bank of England in the heart of the City of London. Drax power station near Selby in Yorkshire used to be the UK’s biggest coal-fired power station, but since 2012 has become the world’s biggest wood-burning plant, and the company Drax Plc has become the second largest producer of wood pellets in the world

Axe the Draxosaurus

Drax power station now emits more CO2 than any other plant in the UK, and it does so with the aid of a huge subsidy from our UK electricity bills, almost £1 billion in 2021.

Axe the Draxosaurus

It get subsidised by the UK Government as part of the plan to decarbonise electricity generation despite the evidence from scientists around the world that the burning of forest wood for energy increases carbon emissions and is incompatible with the attempt to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Axe the Draxosaurus

The subsidies that Drax receives increase our electricity bills and should be going to expand truly renewable energy sources such as wind, wave and solar energy. Instead they are paying Drax to pollute and pay out large dividends to their shareholders.

Axe the Draxosaurus

Sourcing the wood to burn at Drax – and for them to sell to other wood-burning plants is also a social and environmental disaster. Much of the wood comes from Drax’s pellet mills using large mmonoculture pine plantations in Southeastern USA, large sterile forest areas with little or no wildlife which have been expanded greatly in area, in part by the total clearance of areas of ancient forest.

Also in the USA, Drax buys pellets from Enviva, the world’s largest pellet producer which has come under criticism for its clearcut felling of US coastal hardwood forests.

Drax has also been criticised by environmentalists for its clear cutting of ancient forests in Canada, and its Portuguese supplier of pellets has been found to have sourced trees from nature reserves. And logging for wood pellets for Drax is also destroying ancient forests in Estonia and Latvia.

The amount of wood burned at Drax is huge – 6.4 million tonnes in 2022 – and will have involved the cutting down of twice that mass of trees. It is more than the entire UK wood production – but only supplies less than one hundredth of our energy needs.

Drax is now attempting to claim further subsidies for its BECCS (Bioenergy With Carbon Capture And Storage) project which seems very unlikely to be able to capture any significant amount of its huge annual CO2 output. It would obviously be far better simply to stop burning wood and turn to truly renewable power sources.

The protest in 2016 was organised by Biofuelwatch on whose web site you can find more a detailed briefing about Drax and why it is vital to end the subsidies for its polluting and environmentally destructive activities.

You can find information on the Axe Drax page about the trial of the #DRAX2 arrested after paint was sprayed on the government department supporting the subisdies to Drax – it begins at Southwark Crown Court on April 22nd 2024. And on August 8-13th 2024 Reclaim the Power is holding a mass protest camp for climate justice “targeting Drax – the biggest emitter in the UK, the world’s biggest burner of trees and a key driver of environmental racism.”

Drax AGM Biomass opposition

FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.

Sudbury to Brentford – 31st December 2016

Saturday, December 31st, 2022

Sudbury to Brentford

Six years ago on New Year’s Eve we walked with a couple of family members from Sudbury to Brentford. This year because of rail and health problems none of our family are staying with us and “South Western Railway services between 18 December and 8 January are subject to change and may not operate”, so if the weather is fine we will probably do a rather shorter walk from home.

Sudbury to Brentford

The trip in 2016 to Sudbury Hill station was reasonably fast; a short train journey then a bus and a couple of short hops on the Piccadilly line got us there in a little under an hour and a half, and within a few minutes we were walking along suburban streets to Horsenden Wood, where we walked to the top of the hill.

Sudbury to Brentford

Unfortunately it was a dull and damp day, and we could only see the extensive views this part of the walk would have given us had the air been clear dully through the murk, but the path up through the wood was enhanced by the slight mist. We walked down the hill to cross the Grand Union Canal.

Soon we reached the highpoint of the walk for some of us, the 1930s trading estate leading to the Art Deco Tesco on Western Avenue, designed by Wallis, Gilbert and Partners and built in 1933 for Hoover, along with the 1930s moderne canteen, now an Asian restaurant. We chose the Tesco both for a tiny bit of shopping and the toilets, then walked west to the footbridge to cross the busy road.

Almost immediately on the path the other side of Western Avenue we came to St Mary the Virgin Perivale, now used for concerts, with just an occasional service.

This Grade I listed redundant church dates in part from the 13th century and was the smallest church in Middlesex (outside London.) We explored its graveyard and sat down on a rather damp seat there to eat our sandwiches in what was either heavy drizzle or light rain.

The next section of the walk took us beside the River Brent, another of London’s minor rivers and like the rest of our walk going to Brentford, though we had to make some deviations to follow roads and footpaths. This was a relatively quiet and sometimes boring section of the walk, though its always good to walk beside the river, and there was a rather dumpy viaduct for a doomed railway, a council estate and a long foot path to a Cuckoo Lane where no cuckoos were to be heard except for our ludicrous imitations.

Things got more interesting again when we reached Hanworth Church, and early work of George Gilbert Scott who later called it ‘a mass of horrors’ and Brent Lodge Park, where I ignored the pleas of some of my cfo-walkers and led us firmly away from a tea-room – we were already and hour or so behind schedule if we were to finish the walk during daylight.

Brunel really knew how to build a viaduct, and here was the first major engineering work on the new Great Western Railway in 1836-7, with 8 semi-elliptical arches each of 70 ft span and rising 19 ft supported on hollow brick piers – the first time these were used in a railway viaduct. 886 ft long, the height to the parapet is 81 ft, and when built it was 30 ft wide to carry two broad gauge lines. Later it was widened to 55ft with a third pier added to each existing pair, and it could then take four standard gauge tracks, which were laid in 1892. We walked under this impressive structure beside the River Brent to the south side which is the earlier part and carries the arms of Lord Wharncliffe, chair of the committee that gave permission for the GWR.

We continued by the Brent to join the Grand Union Canal, another earlier great engineering acheivement along with the rest of the canal system, at the Hanwell flight of locks. Our route now ran along the towpath, so navigation was simple, all the way to the Great West Road.

There was still just enough light to take a few photographs, but my companions were flagging and our walk was getting slower and slower.

By the time we reached the road for the short walk to Brentford Station it was truly dark and they had slowed to a snails pace, and despite my urging them to catch the next train we arrived there to see it just departing, for once dead on time, though we were an hour and a minute later then planned. It had been a good walk but would have been better without the 29 minutes wait there for the next train.

You can see many more pictures from the walk on My London Diary at New Years Eve Walk.