“Most of the wood is being imported from North America – and this is not expected to change in the near future. The main sourcing regions at present are the southern US and British Columbia. In both regions, highly biodiverse and carbon rich forests are being clearcut and in many cases turned into industrial tree plantations. Increasingly, wood sourced this way is now being turned into pellets for Drax and other UK power stations.”
Burning biomass in power stations causes similar levels of air pollution as coal burning overall. It emits less sulphur dioxide (SO2) but more very fine particulates (PM 2.5, which pose a particularly serious risk of lung and heart disease and for which there is no safe level, according to the World Health Organisation) and more harmful Volatile Organic Compounds. By far the main air quality concern, however, is that biomass conversions will allow power stations which would otherwise be shut down to operate for decades to come. Communities such as those in Newport, next to Uskmouth Power Station will thus be exposed to high levels of air pollution for much longer. Furthermore, conversion to biomass greatly increases the risk of accidental fires and explosions.”
There’s more, rather grim reading but interesting.