Drax Power Station owner will stand trial after denying health and safety breaches

The owner of one of the UK's largest power stations will stand trial after it denied putting employees’ health at risk by exposing them to woodust.

Drax Power Ltd pleaded not guilty to two breaches of health and safety legislation at Leeds Crown Court today.
Drax Power Ltd pleaded not guilty to two breaches of health and safety legislation at Leeds Crown Court today.

Drax Power Ltd pleaded not guilty to two breaches of health and safety legislation at Leeds Crown Court today.

The energy firm, based near Selby, has been charged with failing to protect the health, safety and welfare of workers, and failing to carry out sufficient risk assessments, between September 2006 and April 2017.

The employees had been working with wood pellets, which were burned to generate energy.

The trial, which is expected to last four weeks, is due to begin on June 5 in 2023.

Trade unionists and environmental campaigners staged a demonstration outside the court, during the short hearing.

Drax Group, which employs 3,400 people in the UK and North America, generated 18.8 Terawatt-hour (TWh) of electricity in 2020.

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It also saw emissions increase by almost 30 per cent - to 3,080 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (KtCO2e) - that year as it used its remaining coal stocks before the planned closure of Drax Power Station.

The company states around 77 per cent of the energy it generated that year was renewable and it is working to become carbon neutral, by cutting emissions and using technologies such as carbon capture and storage.