YP Letters: Drax boss – Biomass is a cleaner form of technology

Drax power station.
Drax power station.
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From: Andy Koss, CEO, Drax Power, Selby, North Yorkshire.

USING biomass technology to generate electricity is a renewable and cleaner form of energy, and Dr AM Bostyn (The Yorkshire Post, March 22) is mistaken in the claims he makes.

The sustainably-sourced low grade wood Drax uses to produce compressed wood pellets to generate renewable electricity delivers at least 80 per cent carbon savings compared to coal. This is independently verified and covers the full carbon footprint from across our entire supply chain including harvesting, processing and transportation. The savings are reported monthly to the regulator, Ofgem.

Last year Drax, which has now upgraded half the power station to completely replace coal with sustainable biomass, was responsible for providing 16 per cent of the UK’s renewable electricity. Overall we continue to provide some seven per cent of the country’s total electricity needs. We only source our biomass from sustainably managed working forests, which are growing in size.

Since the 1950s, forest stocks in the US South – from where Drax gets most of its material – have increased by more than 100 per cent. In these forests the primary product is high grade timber. We take the low grade material including tree tops, limbs, sawmill residues, misshapen and diseased trees not suitable for other use, as well as thinnings - small trees removed to maximise the growth of the forest.

There are many controls in place to protect bottomlands in the US and Drax does not take any wood fibre from sites that are protected or officially identified as having high bio-diversity value

The sustainability we insist on is underpinned by tough screening and testing of all our suppliers, conducted by independent auditors and written into supply contracts. We also fully comply with the Government’s sustainability legislation.

Vote against this report

From: David Taylor, Richmond.

MY wife and myself are “members” of the Skipton Building Society. We are asked to vote at the AGM on April 24 to approve the accounts for 2016, approve the remuneration package, and re elect the directors.

I note the remuneration payable to the executive directors in 2016 was £2.7m, adjusting for the additional executive director included in that year this means the pay, including performance bonuses, for the other three directors is £2m in 2016 against £1.4m in 2015. This is an increase in excess of 40 per cent. I note an award of 15 per cent was given to persuade them to take a lower performance bonus than they would otherwise have earned.

The only performance we have noticed has been a continued reduction in the interest paid on our savings, and the continued pocketing of part of the tax benefit we should be getting on our ISA savings accounts.

We are sure we could write to the Chair of the Remuneration Committee and get an earnest reply quoting market forces (no one seems to have left) and performance achievements (but who sets them?). We have voted on our forms not to approve the Report of Remuneration for 2016, and we have voted not to approve the reappointment of each director on the Remuneration Committee. They have obviously got it wrong.

We encourage other Skipton members to vote the same way.

Editor’s note: A Skipton Building Society spokesman said: The pay of all executive directors is benchmarked against the marketplace to ensure it is appropriate in comparison to our peers and competitors, and sufficient to attract and retain people with the skill and capability needed to run a complex and diversified business like the Skipton Building Society Group, encompassing over 9,500 employees. Pay is set by a Remuneration Committee comprising of independent non-executive directors who are supported by external professional advisers.

The remuneration of executive directors reflects the very strong performance of the Skipton Group during 2016.

No milk and honey here

From: Wendy Cross, Beverley.

I WRITE in response to Ms Allanson’s letter, (The Yorkshire Post, March 23), in which she wants us to believe that milk and honey, in addition to shale gas, will flow once fracking begins.

Wellsites for hydraulic fracturing ‘every few miles’ (her rather casual words) will not in themselves end tourism, but noise, pollution from heavy traffic, gas flaring, possible toxic emissions and the threat of malfunctions from this untested method of shale gas exploration processes are likely to do so, far from aiding the villages.

Ms Allanson continues to seem a spokesperson for the company which seeks to frack Ryedale. It is when she praises the gift of money to be given for community use (in return for their agreeing to allow development of a ‘test well’) that her words seem particularly offensive. Such payment used to be known as “dirty money”; Ms Allanson writes as if it is a beneficence. Could it be called a bribe?

Not all wishes can come true

From: Canon Michael Storey, Healey Wood Road, Brighouse.

YOUR Life page feature (The Yorkshire Post, March 23) has given me great concern in realising society seems to have lost completely the Christian view that children should be the produce of one man and one woman, married before any children are conceived.

The article, seemingly approving IVF for same sex couples, makes reproduction into some sort of scientific experiment. Do we have to expect to have all our “wishes” granted? Whatever happened to accepting that some things in life are not available? Fancy not knowing who one’s father is, as being an accepted way of life!