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February 14, 2011

Following last week’s decision by Eric Pickles to grant W4B permission to build a biofuel power station in Bristol, residents of Portland (where last year permission was granted for a similar power station) have taken their appeal directly to the company’s neighbours.

W4B’s registered address is in a leafy residential road in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire. NOPE produced a special leaflet which was delivered to hundreds of Bourne End residents on Valentines Day, asking them to “Have a heart for people and the planet” and write letters to W4B calling on them to abandon their plans for power stations fuelled by palm oil or any other biofuels.

The plans would see vast quantities of palm oil shipped from Indonesia to fuel the power stations in Portland and Bristol. The schemes have attracted widespread criticism from local residents as well as environmental and social justice groups. Locally there are significant concerns over increased levels of pollution, especially on Portland where thousands of people live and work on the top of the island, above the level of the smoke stack exhausts for the planned power station.

The company have stated that they will run the power station on fuel oil derived from palm fruit (stearin) shipped from Indonesia, with well over 100,000 tonnes expected to be used by the two plants. The problems with oil palm cultivation in Indonesia and Malaysia are well documented, causing widespread deforestation in some of the world’s most important and biodiverse forests. With demand for palm oil already pushing these fragile ecosystems to the brink of collapse, the additional demand created by biofuel power stations such as these could be fatal for the last remaining orangutans and other animals and people who live in and depend on the forests.

W4B are also touting and pursuing the commercial cultivation of Jatropha, a poisonous seed crop, to be a feed stock for the power stations in future. In parts of Africa and India, cultivating jatropha for biofuels is already taking productive agricultural land out of the hands of subsistence farmers and instead of providing food for local people it is now producing fuel, a practice that has been well documented and condemned by groups such as Friends of the Earth and Action Aid.

Please join us in urging W4B to axe their plans for industrial-scale bioenergy in Portland or anywhere else. Write polite letters to their registered address:

W4B Ltd.
Mendip House
Hawks Hill
Bourne End

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