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Last Updated: Friday, 18 June, 2004, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
'Dirty' fuel given final go ahead
Drax Power Station
Campaigners fear the new fuel will lead to health problems
The trial burning of the controversial fuel petroleum coke will go ahead at Britain's biggest power station next year, it has been announced.

Drax Power station near Selby, North Yorkshire, can burn a mix of "petcoke" and coal during an 18-month trial.

The Environment Agency's decision has angered opposition groups amidst claims the fuel could affect the health of local people.

Agency officers will answer public concerns at a meeting in early July.

'Clean' station

The power station, which supplies almost 10% of the electricity used in England and Wales, is considered one of the cleanest in Britain.

It uses flue gas desulphurisation equipment (FGD) which reduces sulphur dioxide emissions by about 90%.

The company wants to burn the blend of 85% coal and 15% petcoke, which is a by-product of the petro-chemical industry, to offset the costs of using the expensive FGD system.

Selby District Council has opposed the plan to burn petcoke.

Deputy Chief Executive Mike White said: "It has got FGD and is therefore one of the cleanest coal fired power stations in the country, but not only that, it is also one of the most efficient.

"We have not been convinced by any of the economic arguments put forward by Drax that it, effectively, cannot survive just burning coal alone.

"There are other health issues which we believe need to be fully addressed as part of any monitoring and sampling programme if this trial is to go ahead."

Health effects

Mr White said he believed the company would push for full commercial burning at the end of the trial.

Environment Agency experts say the trial will have no detrimental effect on public health and have agreed to a monitoring programme with the power station.

Area Environment Manager Gerard Morris said: "Since receiving the monitoring programme from Drax in March of this year, we have had a number of meetings to discuss it with interested organisations, including Selby District Council, and some aspects of the programme have been revised as a result.

"Our external expert on health issues has confirmed he is satisfied with the revised programme."


SEE ALSO:
Power station to burn 'dirty fuel'
17 Nov 03  |  North Yorkshire
Concern over power station fuel
13 Nov 03  |  North Yorkshire
UK firm wins Drax power struggle
31 Aug 03  |  Business


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