Power Station Emissions

Meeting:

Mayor's Question Time

Date:

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Reference:

Question 2016/3616

Main question

David Kurten

Are you concerned that Drax, Lynemouth and other large coal plants which supply London with electricity through the National Grid are converting to use wood chips from forests in North and South America which may cause huge deforestation in these areas and may have the unintended consequence of increasing emissions of PM2.5s?


Answer

The Mayor

The increased demand for biomass and its use in this highly energy-inefficient way concerns me. It can only add to the pressure on the existing resource and supply chains and has the potential to encourage unscrupulous biomass trading resulting in further deforestation. The loss of carbon sequestration and the resultant elevated CO2 levels would make implementing the Paris COP21 targets even more difficult. I am drafting my new environment strategy and I want London to be an exemplar of both energy efficiency and its effective use. I want to make use of London's energy resources and work with the national energy system to transition London to a zero-carbon city by 2050. I shall work to ensure London plays its part to minimise the nation's dependence on imported fuels.

The pollutant emissions from these power stations are regulated by the Environment Agency and I would not expect an increase in PM2.5 emissions resulting from a change to biomass. Where the power stations are required to monitor their emissions and they exceed their emission limits, the Environment Agency has the power to stop them from operating and fine or imprison the operators.