One of the many eye-opening events during this year’s York Environment Week was a screening of an American film about Yorkshire’s very own biomass power station, Drax.

Poster for Burned documentary
Poster for Burned documentary

The connection with the United States is that 60% of the wood pellets burned at Drax originate in the coastal forests of the American South. Using research from sources such as Biofuelwatch, the film presents a case that Drax is the UK’s single biggest source of carbon emissions. Ironically, though, the company received almost £1 billion in green subsidies during 2021 and the power they generated was logged as part of the government’s tally of carbon neutral electricity.

Hard to believe? Watch the film and judge for yourself.

Interestingly, the same day the screening took place, the Guardian published a story by a Greenpeace journalist about the chemicals emitted from Drax’s pellet plants in the USA. They quoted a Director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored people who said, “My message to the UK government is that you are subsidising environmental racism.”

The Guardian, Greenpeace and the NAACP are, of course, all reputable organisations but Drax, too, works hard to promote its green credibility. It has a seat on the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission and promoted a fringe event on green energy at this year’s Labour conference.

What sense can we make of this? Any comments you have on the Drax debate are welcome on the York Labour Facebook Group or by emailing

The full documentary feature film can be viewed via YouTube at the bottom of this page, or for a shorter 30 minute edited version, use the following link:

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