Our Campaign

What is it all about?

Two big, industrial scale, biofuel power stations are planned for Avonmouth near Bristol:

  • Helius want to build a 100MW station burning 850 000 tonnes of wood a year
  • W4B want to build a 50MW station burning 90,000 tonnes of palm oil a year

Using Biofuel on this scale is an environmental catastrophe: contributing to global warming and reducing biodiversity; it destroys communities and is a danger to health.  Biofuel power generation is BAD for all these reasons:

  • it actually contributes more to global warming than conventional coal power stations
  • virgin forests and the wildlife in them are destroyed to create mono-culture plantations
  • land is grabbed from indigenous people and their way of life destroyed
  • wood dust, which will blow over us locally, is a carcinogen, as dangerous as asbestos
  • biomass electricity generating stations, like that proposed by Helius, are on average only 30% efficient – 70% of the energy in the fuel is wasted
  • they are uneconomic, relying on huge subsidies, which we all pay for, to make a profit.

See our Issues and Power station pages for more information.

Duncan Law of Biofuelwatch at the Helius AGM putting the case against biofuels in general, and at Avonmouth in particular.

See more films on our Big Biofuels page

We aim to STOP biofuels power stations at Avonmouth by …

  • undermining the ability of Helius and W4B to raise the money they need to build the plants – by making potential investors doubt that their investments will be profitable
  • lobbying Government to stop them subsidising biofuels.

We need YOU to get involved – check out our Events & Action and What you can do pages.


The Coalition

If you support the following statement, please add a comment below.

As a coalition, we oppose big biofuels projects including the Helius and W4B Power Stations proposed for Avonmouth. We believe the environmental and social harm, including catastrophic climate change, deforestation, displacement of communities and local pollution and health impacts, are unacceptable. These projects are only viable with heavy public subsidy, which should instead be spent on clean, sustainable energy projects such as solar, tidal, wind and wave, determined by local communities. Together with prioritising the significant reduction of our energy consumption.

The following organisations and groups support the coalition:

  • Biofuelwatch
  • Action for Sustainable Energy for Bristol
  • Friends of the Earth Bristol
  • Frack Free Somerset
  • Bristol Rising Tide
  • Bristol Left Unity
  • South West Against Nuclear
  • Frack Free Bristol
  • Avonmouth Dust Forum

If you are an organisation or group that would like to be listed in supporting the statement above, please email us at info@avoncoalitionagainstbigbiofuels.org.uk

19 thoughts on “Our Campaign

  1. Having lived in Malaysian Borneo, and seen the devestation caused by the Palm oil industry, I am deeply opposed to a bio-fuel plant in my own city. It is monumentally unfair to consume resources from other lands and destroy traditional ways of life, for the sake of a western energy addiction. I fully support the statement.

  2. We really need to be reducing energy consumption and investing in small scale, community focused renewables. Big Biofuels are a dangerously bad idea and I want this stopped!

  3. Undoubtedly we must do everything in our power to preserve what’s left of the Earth’s invaluable wildlife and the unbelievably precious, ancient and rich ecosystems being diminished. Please dont let us become the generation that didn’t do enough to properly safeguard and protect the, now comparatively small, amount of outstanding beauty left and under threat in this world. We must eradicate threats. I am a Bristol resident and fully support the Avon Coalition Against Big Biofuels. To overlook its concerns would be an soul destroying mistake only exacerbating unbearable tragedy.

  4. I totally support the aims of the Coalition. Local residents do not need the pollution and the Earth needs the trees!

  5. I’m a Somerset resident & I’m opposed to Big biofuels, biomass is only sustainable if used at appropriate scales – crop residues, post-consumer chip-fat etc are sustainable ways of providing bio-mass, plantations have to be local to where energy is consumed in order than local communities can ensure the sustainability of the projects.

    A big part of the problem with our energy system & the way we consume energy is that we are most of the time we are so far removed from the source of our energy – the extraction and devastation that is carried out in far away communities in our name, we are just beginning to get a taste of that here in the UK with the governments plans for new nuclear and fracking.

    If we want to have food shelter & electricity then we have to make some compromises. I can’t eat a view & I can’t live without clean water, nukes & fracking threaten our food & water supply, whilst deforestation threatens the food & water of communties in distant lands and threatens the climate for all of us…

    The renewable technologies especially on-shore wind have been vociferously opposed by the middle and upper classes and certain vested interests, wind is the most prolifigate renewable resource we have here in the UK. Because of the prevailing ‘views’ of the mostly ignorant majority of society the use of these resources in our communities are being supressed.

    We need a mix of renewable technologies deployed according to what is the best resource in any given location, and not dictated by the whims of the rich.

    On-shore wind has the lowest environmental impact of all of the renewable technologies (A german organsiation found this in a wide ranging study that internalised all of the negative externalities of all of the technologies we use to produce energy, solar came after, (there are significant Rare Earth Metals used in solar panels as with tablets phones & computers & other nano-technologies. Mining of rare earth metals causes significant damage, as does all mining).

    As a result of the opposition here to wind there are now solar farms cropping up everywhere in Somerset. I don’t want to oppose them because ultimately they can be removed & I think every renewable project we can get installed here is a step in the right direction.

    However, we desperately need to shift our thinking (& acting) about our energy supply – I can’t help but feel a little bit sad when sitting on the train looking at fields full of glinting panels where there should be green grass. I think that Wind turbines look fine, I’m one of those people who played with windmills as a kid & so I find the turning of their blades attractive. If those same fields had wind turbines in them the field would still be able to be used as pasture and grazing for farm animals, stuffed with solar panels traditional use of the land may be restricted. Given that we are a tiny island with less & less land in agriculture we need to be able to think holistically & see the bigger picture when making these local decisions. I think that on-shore wind is a much better idea, it allows farmers to continue to use their farms traditionally, it is the cheapest of all of the renewable technologies being developed here in the UK & if developed by communities it can contribute to energy democracy too!

    I think that solar belongs on our built environment roofs, sound barriers of roads & motorways etc etc, as they take up significant areas. Like I said before the appropriate technology at the appropriate scale in the appropriate place. Community ownership is the most likely model to ensure that this happens as it is people determining what will happen on their own doorstep instead of having things imposed on them by big corporations who don’t give a monkeys except for their bottom line.

    Biomass has it’s place too, it is important as a ‘baseload’ generator off-setting the variability of other renewables but this only works when done properly. In Germany they are using a lot of bio-digestion of animal wastes (methane) & crop residues. The current reigning paradigm of economic growth and corporate models of ownership with profit for shareholders as the driving force is not & cannot contribute to a ecologically & socially sound development/managment/exploitation of biomass as a resource.
    In Germany they have know this & so do the corporations – the fight for transition is well under way over there.

    Energy democracy and economics as if people mattered needs to be the drivers of the changes that we need to make to our systems.

    Here is a link to a chapter from a documentary made in Germany called ‘welcome to the Energiewende’ this chapter is about community-owned wind & it’s great to see a group of young teenagers who are savvy enough that they know exactly what the propoganda is that we’re being spoon-fed about wind here in the UK and they do a great job of debunking the myths http://vimeo.com/70645514 The full movie can be viewed here http://welcometotheenergiewende.blogspot.de/2013/10/02-vauban-from-craig-morris-on-vimeo.html Please watch & share – there is an appetite for transforming the energy system here in the UK the main problem is that the public don’t feel empowered to do anything about it! So let’s get together & change it!

    I’m glad to see that people are waking up to the interconnections between all of these issues.

    Solidarity to the coalition.

  6. ACSEB – Action for Sustainable Energy for Bristol fully supports ACABB.
    Biomass and Bioliquid fuels are a ‘green’ scam promoted by powerful industrial lobbies, in order to get massive subsidies from US. They take advantage of unscientific European Union Directives and UK government rulings that are supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they actually make climate change worse. They destroy ecosystems in the tropics and North America, endangered species, and indigenous peoples. These two power-stations have no place in Bristol’s port when Bristol will be European Green Capital 2015.

  7. I am a Bristol resident and agree with the coalition’s views, aims and objectives. Importing 3rd world forests to burn in Europe is ludicrous. This couldn’t happen without massive subsidies from tax-payers and energy users i.e. us. Many of you may disagree but new nuclear is the only way forward if we want large-scale, carbon-free, subsidy-free energy.

  8. I spent the entire Christmas break in 2009 reverse-engineering the proposal so we could see whether and how a biofuel ‘renewable energy’ generating plant could be sustainable. The exercise was chilling – actually quite a sickening journey into darkness. There was nothing that made the plant sustainable, and it was only even financially viable assuming it would get double the normal amount of Renewable Obligation Credit (ROC) subsidies. It also appeared to be fraudulent – I have never found anyone who can explain how, if you claim carbon credits in the country of origin when you make the oil (and get permission to tear forest down, and all that), you can claim that there are no emissions whatsoever where the oil is burned – and get paid another subsidy to burn the oil. I can’t see how this isn’t fraudulent ‘double booking’.

    Here’s my report for Bristol’s Green Capital Partnership as a dropbox download.

  9. I have only just heard about these proposals. I am appalled that the government might subsidise what is so clearly a non-green, unsustainable and harmful way of producing power. Let’s do all we can to stop it.

  10. I support the campaign.

    It is a crime to destroy virgin forests and people’s way of life.

    It is a crime for our taxes to fund the subsidies and line the pockets of the immoral few who want to get rich at the expense of our environment.

    We need to focus on real clean green energy and energy conservation and reducing demand.

  11. I completely agree with the statement above. We should be investing in technologies that are sustainable and don’t impact so destructively on others!

  12. I am a Bristol resident and totally support your campaign. It is madness to use public money to support a technology which produces more CO2 than it saves and devastates environments where the fuel is grown as well.

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