The UK cuts down forests to be green!
All in the name of being green...
Britain is set to plunder the lungs of the world to feed its growing hunger for wood to burn in power stations.
A series of biomass-fired plants are being built in the UK that will trigger a 150 per cent surge in timber imports from 20 million tonnes today to 50 million tonnes by 2015, according to the Forestry Commission.
British power plants are already shipping wood from Canada, Brazil, Scandinavia and South Korea.
Just one of the new biomass plants at Port Talbot, South Wales, will consume three million tonnes of wood per year — equivalent to 30 per cent of the UK’s domestic annual wood harvest of ten million tonnes.
But the plant, which is due to open in 2012, will generate only 300 megawatt hours of electricity, or about 0.4 per cent of the UK's current power-generating capacity. At least four more 300-megawatt plants are planned, including three in Yorkshire that have been proposed by Drax, operator of Britain’s largest coal-fired power station. Another company, MGT, plans to build one on Teesside.
A spokesman for Prenergy, which is behind the Port Talbot plant, said 90 per cent of its wood supplies would be imported, although he insisted that all of it would be sourced from proven sustainable sources.
Nevertheless, environmental campaigners have raised concerns about the carbon emissions involved in shipping the wood such large distances, while to meet UK pest control laws the timber will need to be baked before it can be shipped to the UK.
Wood industry officials have warned that British families could face soaring prices for a range of wood-based products, including furniture, wood panels and even wallpaper because of its impact on low-grade timber and wood pulp prices.