York & North Yorkshire

Drax power station protest petition handed in

Protestors at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Image copyright Biofuelwatch
Image caption Campaigners handed in the petition at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

A 96,000-signature petition calling for plans for the UK's largest gas-fired power plant to be refused has been handed in.

Drax power station, in North Yorkshire, wants to switch two of its coal-fired generating units to gas power.

The firm said plans would increase its ability to provide "flexible and reliable" electricity generation.

Campaigners have handed in the petition at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in London.

Duncan Law, of environmental campaigners Biofuelwatch, said: "The UK does not need this gas capacity even according to government projections."

He added: "This will cross-subsidise the continued burning of climate-damaging biomass long into the future."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Drax generates 6% of the UK's electricity

Andy Koss, Drax Power's chief executive, said: "If the Repower project goes ahead we could stop using coal ahead of the government's 2025 deadline, reducing emissions and protecting jobs.

"Building modern, high efficiency gas power stations will enable aging, less efficient plant to close, reducing emissions."

Plans for a 3.6 gigawatt gas generation system and a 200-megawatt battery storage were submitted in 2018.

Four of the power station's former coal units have already been switched to burning biomass in the form of wood pellets.

A decision on the proposals is expected later this year and Drax said the project could start generating electricity by 2022/23.

The petition was organised by York Green Party and Biofuelwatch.

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