The UK’s largest renewable power station, owned by Drax and located near Selby, is facing the possibility of subsidy withdrawal due to concerns over compliance with sustainability regulations.
The power plant burns biomass, including wood pellets, which has prompted scrutiny regarding its environmental impact.
During a House of Lords session, independent crossbencher Baroness Boycott voiced concerns, citing information from Canadian environmentalists who have witnessed the destruction of ancient forests for wood pellet production.
Baroness Boycott said: “The Panorama programme did have some interesting facts, and in fact, a lot of that information comes from Canadian environmentalists who are actually on the spot and they see the ancient forest being destroyed for those wood pellets.
“And so why on earth do you still persist in saying that we are jumping to conclusions when you are just burying your head in the sand?”
Lord Callanan, in response, acknowledged the differing viewpoints and advised caution in accepting all statements from Canadian environmentalists.
The Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance said: “Well as somebody famous one remarked recollection of facts may vary. And, forgive me if I don’t necessarily take as absolute facts the statements by some of the Canadian environmentalists.
“Officials have looked into it, Ofgem are investigating whether the biomass is sustainable or not. Let’s wait for the outcome of that investigation.
“If it is proved that they are not in compliance, then of course some of the value of the certificates they have received will be withdrawn.”
A Drax spokesperson said: “We are confident in our business and operations and committed to ensuring the biomass we source delivers positive outcomes for the climate, for nature and for the communities in which we operate.”