Norbord Europe chief calls for pause in 'headlong rush to biomass energy,' accuses U.K. government of ignoring wood panel industry's concerns

LOS ANGELES , September 23, 2011 () – The managing director of Norbord Europe, Karl Morris, is continuing to speak out against the U.K. government's plans to expand wood energy, saying the country's entire forest harvest could be consumed by just three new biomass plants.

Norbord and Egger, which both have wood panel plants in the U.K., have been high-profile backers of the Wood Panel Industries Federation's (WPIF) campaign against subsidies to encourage the burning of biomass for power, saying energy developments have triggered a 50% increase in wood prices over three years.

Morris is now drawing attention to a new permission granted to Anglesey Aluminium for a plant in Holyhead, which he says follows two earlier permissions for biomass plants operated by power company Drax.

This week, the WPIF's campaign was boosted by the release of a draft report  by the Scientific Committee of the European Union Environment Agency. The report stated: “It is widely assumed that bioenergy is carbon neutral. However, this assumption is flawed". The report also noted that: "The potential consequences of this bioenergy accounting error are immense”.

Morris accused the U.K. government of failing to take note of the wood panel industry’s concerns. He added: "If the EU’s watchdog is expressing similar concerns, the time has come to pause and reconsider the headlong rush to biomass energy.”

The primary source of this article is TTJ, The Timber Industry Magazine, Sidcup, U.K., on Sept. 23, 2011.

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