Appeal to oppose Drax Power Station’s plans

The campaigning group Biofuelwatch has an urgent campaign to oppose Drax Power Station’s new plans to replace its final two coal units with a much larger power station to burn fossil gas.

If Drax’s full plan goes ahead, it would become the UK’s largest gas power station and largest single emitter of CO2, as well as driving demand for fracked gas in the UK.

Biofuelwatch has a draft response to the consultation at which people can copy and paste into the Planning Inspectorate online form.

They are asking people to respond to the consultation urging the Planning Inspectorate to reject Drax’s proposal on the grounds of climate change.

They need as many responses as possible before the deadline of the 29th of August,

People will not be obliged to take any further actions if they register as an interested party and submit an objection.

They have some tweets and a facebook post for sharing below:



Please help us to object to Drax’s climate-choking plans to burn gas

Drax power station near Selby, Yorkshire. Photograph: Nican45,

Dear Supporter,

Drax power station has applied to the Planning Inspectorate for permission to replace its two remaining coal-fired units with much larger ones burning fossil (natural) gas.

Drax is already the biggest biomass burning plant in the world and the largest single emitter of COin the U.K.

Drax claims on its website that this is part of their “strategy to play a vital role in changing the way energy is generated as the UK moves to a low carbon future.”

The reality is that Drax made a net loss last year and switching to burning gas would allow the power station to keep operating once the government’s pledge to phase out ‘unabated coal’ by 2025 comes into force.

If this gas development goes ahead, it will tie the U.K. into the long-term burning of more fossil fuels at a time when we need to drastically reduce our carbon emissions to prevent catastrophic climate change.

It will also enable Drax to continue burning millions of tonnes of wood pellets every year, many of which come from the clear felling of biodiverse forests in the U.S.

If you agree that we should not allow Drax to increase our carbon emissions by burning gas and wood biomass, please help us to stop Drax’s proposed gas development by sending an objection to the Planning Inspectorate. 

The deadline for responses is Wednesday the 29th of August at 11.59pm.

For more information about the environmental and climate impact of Drax’s gas plans, please see our briefing here.

How to object

Our ‘alert page‘ contains a pre-drafted ‘consultation response’ about the climate impact of burning gas (feel free to copy and paste, modify and personalise). It also takes you through the simple steps to register as an ‘interested party’ and make your submission directly on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

This will not commit you to any other action but will allow you to submit an objection to the plans.

It would also be great if you would like to personalise your response which will give it more weight.

Please visit our ‘alert page‘ to make your submission.  

Thank you very much on behalf of Biofuelwatch!

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#Manchester retrofit – survey by post-grad student, help needed #climate

jackie owinoJackie Owino is a postgraduate student in the University of Salford studying MSc. Safety, Health and Environment Management.  She is passionate about environmental sustainability, and is seeking owner-occupiers of houses in Manchester to respond to a survey (you can take it here) about retrofit and energy.

Here’s the blurb she sent-

Greenhouse gas emissions from our activities is driving climate change and the world’s average surface temperatures is projected to rise above 3oC this century.

The UK government has set out targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 from a 1990 baseline. In 2016, 14% of the UK GHG emissions were from residential homes, a 4% increase from 2015. The Committee on climate change reports that these emissions are expected to fall by about 20% between 2016 and 2030 in order to achieve near zero emissions by 2050.

Several improvements and policy packages have been suggested to improve the built fabric of the building through retrofit by loft and wall insulation to more efficient boilers and heating systems and use of renewable energy sources. There is however need to understand how behavioural factors and energy practices relate to their built environment.

The focus of my study is to understand these factors and barriers that limit the uptake of retrofit by owner occupiers in Greater Manchester.

The outcome of the study will essentially identify what factors should be taken into consideration by Greater Manchester Council and key stakeholders such as the carbon co-op when creating programs and policy instruments  incentivize and create awareness on the uptake of retrofit measures.

Any feedback from owner occupiers within Greater Manchester will be highly appreciated. The link to the survey:


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Only 1 in 7 of top #Manchester Council bosses is ‘carbon literate’ #climate farce

Back in 2013 Richard Leese got himself some feel-good greenie points (and made certain supine types roll over and coo) by launching the world’s first ‘Carbon Literacy’ program, in the Arndale Centre.

It then took our Glorious Leader four years to get round to doing the training (there were many many stories about this on MCFly). That’s how we show leadership- by example.

“Carbon literacy” is both a pathetic joke and useful.  A pathetic joke because a) the level of  skill needed is not high (I am told by reliable sources) and it doesn’t lead to meaningful change – at least one MP who is ‘carbon liberate’ voted for the Heathrow expansion.

It’s also useful though, insofar as it gives a rough measure of how serious Richard takes his leadership responsibilities – see above.  And how much Manchester City Council’s senior management team thinks of the very minor and basically inconsequential problem that is climate change.

Periodically MCFly has submitted Freedom of Information Act requests (because the Council can’t be bothered to have a simple page where you can tell which elected members and senior officers are carbon literate– that would be too much like transparency about the carbon literacy status of the 96 elected members and the top bureaucrats.

Las May and September we asked how many members of the Senior Management Team had done their training. We were told

There has been no change to their status during this period.

No, currently Joanne Roney (sic) has not undertaken Carbon Literacy training but this will take place when the Senior Management Team have their training.

So, almost a year later, in the aftermath of the Saddleworth Moor fires, MCFly submitted another FOIA.

how many members of the strategic management team (or senior management
team, or whatever it’s called) have completed both aspects of their carbon
literacy training. What are their names and what are the names of the members
of the team who haven’t completed their training

And here, today, is Manchester City Council’s answer.

At present Sara Todd is the only member of Strategic Management Team has
completed their carbon literacy training. The other members are: Joanne Roney;
Carol Culley; Carolyn Kus; Paul Marshall; Eddie Smith; Fiona Ledden.


We live in an elective dictatorship.  That’s bad enough, but they are incompetent dictators who can’t seem to wrap their tiny brains around the urgency of climate action.  We truly are toast.  Meanwhile, the ‘activists’ are busy changing the system from within. Oh yes.



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New report: Unreported and harmful emissions from incinerators across England

Harmful emissions from incinerators are going unreported says new research which highlights serious public health failings.

Copies of the full report can be read here:

The new report reveals:

• Incinerators exceed pollution reporting thresholds, but due to a loophole the public is not informed

• Levels of emissions of harmful ‘particulate matter’ and NOx and the associated costs to society

• A lack of regulation and official guidance ignored

Research by UKWIN (UK Without Incineration Network) has shown that waste incinerators are not reporting emissions of harmful particulates and the Government has failed to adequately regulate them.

The report, Waste Incineration and Particulate Pollution: A failure of Governance is launched on Tuesday 17 July in the House of Lords, with cross party support from MPs; John Grogan (Labour), Philip Davies (Conservative) and Liberal Democrat Peer, Lord Tyler. The report reveals for the first time the levels of emissions of harmful particulate matter (PM) and Nitrous Oxide (NO) from incinerators across England.

It also shows that waste incinerators are regularly exceeding thresholds where they should be reporting emissions, but are failing to reveal their pollution level.

Incinerators release particulate matter (PM) into the air as part of the waste burning process.

The smallest particles, PM2.5 and smaller, are invisible and especially dangerous to health. Particulate matter (PM) and NO can aggravate breathing problems, heart and lung disease. PM and NOx are emitted by diesel cars, which the government is now working to phase out.

The report shows that the Particulate Matter (PM) released by incinerators in England in 2017 is equivalent to the PM emissions from more than a quarter of a million 40-tonne lorries travelling 75,000 miles a year, and the NOx emissions released by incinerators in England in 2017 are equivalent to around 80,000 lorries travelling 75,000 miles a year, using comparison figures from the Road Haulage Association and Transport for London,

Shlomo Dowen, National Coordinator of the UK Without Incineration Network, said: “For decades incinerators in England have been emitting significant quantities of pollution and greenhouse gasses. There is a substantial cost to society associated with these harmful emissions.

“This cost should be met by incinerator operators in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle. Operators should also be required to be more transparent about their emissions and to do more to monitor and control the pollution they cause”.

Philip Davies MP said: “Incinerators are being foisted on local communities right across the country and yet the damage that they cause to the local environment is not fully known. There really needs to be a suspension on new incinerators until there is better information available”

John Grogan MP said: “The case for a tax on waste incineration, to mirror the Landfill Tax, and for a moratorium on new incinerators is now very strong.”

Lord Tyler said: “Clean air is vital to health but the Government seems unconcerned about adequately monitoring the emissions from incinerators and has allowed this monitoring loop hole to go unchecked. We must tighten up monitoring procedures and fully investigate the impact before allowing any further incinerators to be built.”

The report calls for:

• The development and implementation of accurate systems to measure the particulate matter that incinerators release, accompanied by proper enforcement

• Stricter control of PM1 emissions

• Incinerators to be taxed on their emissions

• Moratorium on new incineration capacity in recognition of the issues identified in the report

Copies of the full report can be read here:

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Save the world and get 20 quid (esp. men…)

please share…


Would you like to do more to tackle climate change and poverty? Do you find it difficult to respond to these global challenges in your everyday life? We are looking for participants who would be interested in recording and reflecting on their everyday actions for a period of two weeks (through an online diary) and discussing their thoughts with a member of our project team.

As a token of our thanks, participants can choose to receive a £20 high street voucher or we will donate the same amount to Oxfam’s ‘Combat Climate Change’ campaign on your behalf.

If you would like to be involved, please complete this five-minute survey, leaving your contact details on the last page:

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Lucy Powell and “carbon literacy”- no answers yet… #manchester #climate

The Labour Party’ MP Lucy Powell (Manchester Central) has repeatedly declined to say whether she has completed the much-vaunted “carbon literacy” training that various people in Manchester seem to think is worth a bucket of warm spit.

On 26 June the editor of MCFly (who lives in Manchester Central constituency, i.e. has the pleasure of Ms Powell as his MP) wrote to her as follows

Dear Ms Powell

I note with despair but not surprise that you voted to expand Heathrow.

I have questions for you about your “carbon literacy” status –

a) Have you completed the ‘carbon literacy’ training, developed by Manchester’s “Cooler Projects”,
and supported by Manchester City Council? If so, when did you do this?

b) If not, do you intend to do it?

c) If you do not intend to do it, why not.

Thanks very much.
There was an automated reply sent back the same day.
On July 5 I wrote again

Dear Ms Powell

nine days ago I sent you this
Nine days ago I got an automated reply

Still waiting
Thank you

Today I got an standard  response (clearly the one sent out to anyone who thinks that voting for airport expansion is suicidal, ecocidal etc etc.). It’s below, just for the lulz.
Hilariously, there was no response to the straightforward questions about carbon literacy…. This has been pointed out to Ms Powell (or rather, her office junior).

Thanks for what looks suspiciously like the standard letter sent out to everyone who contacted you about your Heathrow decision.

I will repeat (now for the third time) some very very straightforward questions. I do look forward to your reply.

That reply from the good MP-

Dear Marc

Thank you for the email about the vote on whether to approve the additional Terminal at Heathrow- this is a difficult subject and one which people have strongly held views on.

After much thought, I reached the conclusion that Heathrow expansion was the right thing for the country. It will see additional jobs created and will improve connectivity with the rest of the world. The expansion was strongly backed by Unions who want to see their member’s jobs protected and new jobs created

Heathrow, as the UK’s major hub airport, has been in need of additional capacity for some time and successive Governments have put off making a decision about its future.

Heathrow wrote to all MPs to say that they are confident that their plans meet what has been asked of them in terms of air quality, noise, carbon emissions and ensuring the whole of the UK benefits. One thing they were keen to highlight is a triple-lock of measures to ensure the project does not delay the UK’s compliance with legal limits for air quality; plans to further reduce Heathrow’s noise impacts; and using supply chain opportunities to benefit small businesses in the regions.  They also have a sustainability strategy which sets out their aspiration for carbon neutral growth.   These conditions will be set out as a legal requirement and should they not be met, the expansion won’t go ahead.

Obviously I recognise the tension between expansion and our commitments to reduce our impact on climate change and it is right that this is continuously scrutinised.

As a Manchester MP, one of my concerns is about the benefits to the UK as a whole. Whilst I recognise that there will be supply chain benefits across the country, I think that the Government need to do much more to address our infrastructure deficiency in the North. Connectivity improvements across the North are vital for our future and I coordinated a letter on behalf of GM MPs to ask for assurances that the North would receive the investment it needs. I have attached a copy of this letter for your information.

Infrastructure investment does not start and end at Heathrow expansion and whilst we may disagree on this issue- I hope we will agree on calling for the North to receive its fair share of investment.

Best wishes




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More toxic Greater #Manchester air looms. Silence from Andy Burnham…

So, months on from the world-changing “Green Summit” it turns out that the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, is not responding to legitimate questions from the Breath Clean Air Group (sent on the 24th June – see below).  What a surprise…   Below is a press release from them.


Trafford’s Breathe Clean Air Group has written an open letter to Greater Manchester
Mayor Andy Burnham, and the leaders of the 10 GM Councils, warning of the dangers
of BIOMASS heat and power systems and Energy from Waste (EfW) projects. The
warning comes as the Greater Manchester Combined Authority announced a £15
million European loan programme to subsidise renewable energy projects.
“When it’s recently been announced that Manchester’s air is more toxic than London’s
and Greater Manchester has just staged a Clean Air Day and about to stage a Green
Summit, it appears criminal that our leaders intend to pollute Greater Manchester’s air
even more with incinerated wood and waste emissions.” said Peter Kilvert, Chairman
of the Breathe Clean Air Group.
Although the European loan scheme will support different type of “renewable” energy
schemes, such as solar, wind and hydro projects, it will also include burning biomass
and burning waste. The European Union classifies Biomass schemes as “low carbon”
when in fact scientists have proven that burning wood produces much more carbon
dioxide than burning coal, therefore adding to Planet Earth’s global warming. Even
worse, burning biomass produces masses of tiny Particulate Matter that when breathed
in, can be absorbed into the bloodstream, poisoning the body’s organs. This can lead to
poor lung function, respiratory disease, heart attacks, strokes, cancer and dementia.
Children are at greater risk as their lungs have not fully developed.
Burning waste will also emit carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and a cocktail of
volatile chemicals similar to cigarette smoking. Public Health England has still not
released its report after four years, about how dangerous it is to live near an
incinerator. The Office of National Statistics has released statistics to show that infant
mortality is higher downwind of Incinerators.
It is possible that the European grant could be used for district heating schemes, and
for heating schools and blocks of flats. People and pupils in the vicinity of these
projects are at great risk.
“We want Andy Burnham to give the residents of Greater Manchester a pledge that
this new funding will not be provided for projects that produce toxic air and worsen
the already dangerous levels of air pollution,” said Mr Kilvert. “In fact, in the longer
term, we have asked for, and have been ignored so far, that Andy Burnham declares
Greater Manchester a Biomass Free Zone,” he added.



That letter – which was also sent to the ten leaders of Councils in Greater Manchester.  None of the eleven politicians has bothered to reply….



Chairman, Peter Kilvert, 17, Mount Drive, Urmston, Manchester, M41 9PY


To Andy Burnham,                                              Date: 24th June 2018

GM Mayor,


Churchgate House,

56, Oxford Street,


M1 6EU.


Dear Andy,


I am extremely disappointed that you can boast about the new European Regional Development Fund loan that the Greater Manchester Combine Authority will lend to Developers who will use it to provide BIOMASS burning heat and power schemes and Energy from Waste projects.

I know that you know that such schemes will emit airborne carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, Particulate Matter, Volatile Organic Compounds and heavy metals that will have a serious ill-health impact on the local population.

You have just run Greater Manchester Clean Air Day and will also run a Green Summit which recognises the already over-polluted air in the Greater Manchester Region. In fact recent reports say that Manchester’s air is now more polluted than London’s air.

I am appealing to you to pledge NOT to use this European fund for supporting Biomass schemes and Energy from Waste projects in Greater Manchester.

I also request that you declare Greater Manchester a BIOMASS FREE ZONE.

Yours sincerely

Peter Kilvert

Chairman, Breathe Clean Air Group


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