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Letter to the editor of the Daily Telegraph: Biomass subsidies

SIR - The UK needs more affordable, clean, secure energy sources to lower household bills and meet our climate goals. But it is increasingly evident that biomass power – burning wood pellets for electricity – does not meet these objectives, while also exacerbating the supply and demand imbalance for timber faced by UK industry, including the wood panel sector.

New wind and solar projects are now two times cheaper than biomass – and the potential of fixed and floating offshore projects in the North and Celtic seas is tremendous. Experts are questioning biomass’s carbon-neutral status, due to doubts about how quickly new tree planting can negate the carbon dioxide emitted by burning wood residues. It also currently requires importing wood pellets, which sends vast subsidies overseas, risks fuelling deforestation and generates significant processing and transport emissions.

The next generation of biomass power stations – with carbon capture and storage attached – could cost taxpayers more than £30 billion, equivalent to £500 per person. Carbon can be sequestered more cheaply through afforestation and the use of timber in furniture and construction. Given the costs and environmental concerns, we urge ministers not to hand out generous new biomass subsidies.

Selaine Saxby MP (Con)

Sir Peter Bottomley MP (Con)

Earl of Caithness (Con)

Sally-Ann Hart MP (Con)

Sir Oliver Heald MP (Con)

Pauline Latham MP (Con)

Derek Thomas MP (Con)

Lord Randall (Con)

Lord Robathan (Con)

Sir Roger Gale MP (Con)

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