Drax accused of cutting down precious forests for wood pellet fuel

Energy business, Drax, is the subject of the BBC’s Panorama documentary this evening, facing claims that it is cutting down environmentally-important forests in Canada.

North Yorkshire-based Drax creates energy by burning millions of tonnes of imported wood pellets.

The BBC reports that it has discovered some of this wood comes from primary forests in Canada, but Drax has responded that it only uses sawdust and waste wood.

Panorama says it has analysed satellite images, traced logging licences and used drone filming to prove its findings on where the wood has come from.

It also followed a truck from a Drax mill to verify it was picking up whole logs from an area of precious forest.

The documentary makers say they learned Drax bought logging licences to cut down two areas of environmentally-important forest in British Columbia.

But Drax told the BBC many of the trees there had died, and that logging would cut the risk of wildfires.

It said it did not use the logs from the sites Panorama highlighted. The company said these logs were instead transported to timber mills – to make other wood products – and that Drax only made use of the leftover sawdust for its pellets.

The company also told Panorama that while it does use some logs to make wood pellets, it only uses those that are small, twisted, or rotten.

The Panorama documentary – “The Green Energy Scandal Exposed” – is on BBC One at 8pm this evening – 3 October.