MSPs will meet with constituents concerned over large-scale biomass Thursday 13 September inside the Scottish Parliament at an event organised by Biofuelwatch and Friends of the Earth Scotland.

When: 6pm-7.30pm on Thursday 13 September 2012. Registration from 5.30pm. 
Where: Committee Room 3, Scottish Parliament. 
What: Invitation to journalists and members of the press to attend Parliamentary event chaired by Alison Johnstone MSP. 
Who: There will be speeches by Mark Haldane, Grangemouth Communty Council campaigner, and poet and activist, Mandy Haggith.

The evening event, chaired by Alison Johnstone MSP, will be an opportunity for constituents affected by biomass to share their concerns with their MSPs. Speakers at the event include Grangemouth Communty Council campaigner Mark Haldane and poet and activist, Mandy Haggith.

Davina Shiell, Interim Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Scotland is lucky to have huge potential for genuine renewable energy solutions such as appropriately sited wind, tidal, and wave power. It does not need to promote this false solution.”

Almuth Ernsting, Biofuelwatch co-director, said: “The government is quick to say it is committed to using biomass ‘sustainably’ in Scotland. Yet its sustainability standards completely ignore human rights abuses which are occurring through the procurement of biomass from overseas, and overlook many of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with burning biomass so that biomass is seen to reduce carbon emissions, which is simply not the case. Sustainability standards for large scale biomass are greenwash.”

Alison Johnstone MSP said: “Importing foreign forests to burn for electricity in Scotland is bonkers and this should not be subsidised through higher electricity bills. Burning trees for electricity on a large-scale is inefficient and a waste of money in a country with a booming renewables industry.”

Biomass is a controversial energy source, with campaigners warning that it is not clean and green, but in fact produces more CO2 than fossil fuels, pollutes local air quality, and results in the large-scale destruction of forests and biodiversity in countries overseas.

While the government and industry claims that if certain ‘sustainability criteria’ are adhered to, biomass can provide a low-carbon energy solution, campaigners warn that ‘sustainability standards’ are ineffective.

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact:

Per Fischer (Friends of the Earth Scotland press officer): 0131 243 2719 Notes to Editors

1. Biofuelwatch is a campaign organisation that works to raise awareness of the negative impacts of industrial biofuels and bioenergy on biodiversity, human rights, food sovereignty and climate change. www.biofuelwatch.org.uk

2. Friends of the Earth Scotland is * Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation * An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland * Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups – covering every continent. www.foe-scotland.org.uk