Drax was spared a grilling from lawmakers after the session was cut short after less than 20 minutes, sparing the power group a grilling new claims of greenwashing.
MPs were called into votes in the division lobbies after just a handful of questions – with the start of the session delayed after previous committee meetings overran.
In response to one of the few questions fired his way, Dr Alan Knight, Drax’s director of sustainability, argued there were “a lot of errors” in the BBC Panorama’s exposé of its logging practices.
He told the Environmental Audit Committee that the BBC’s claim 11 per cent of its supplies are roundwood – timber which is left as small logs – did not acknowledge this was of lower quality wood.
Knight also criticised the BBC’s definition of “primary forests” – denying that the firm was cutting down old, carbon rich trees to power its biomass facilities.
He said: “There was a lot of errors and misinterpretations, and we probably need to have a longer conversation. It not black and white Panorama proof we were wrong. We’ve got very clear rebuttals against all that stuff, and there were a lot of unfortunate errors in that programme.
Drax hits back at greenwashing claims
The Drax power station in Yorkshire is a converted coal plant, which now produces 12 per cent of the UK’s renewable electricity through its biomass production.
It has already received £6bn in green energy subsidies.
The company burns millions of tonnes of imported wood pellets at the plant– which is classed as renewable energy – and receives billions of pounds in green energy subsidies from UK taxpayers.
However, the BBC argues this includes wood from primary forests in Canada, which are home to rare, old carbon-rich trees.
Its investigation team analysed satellite images, traced logging licences and used drone filming to prove its findings.
One of the reporters also followed a truck from a Drax mill to verify it was picking up whole logs from an area of precious forest.
Panorama also discovered Drax bought logging licences to cut down two areas of environmentally-important forest in British Columbia.
The entire area covered by the second Drax logging licence has already been cut down.
When approached for comment at the time, a Drax spokesperson said: “Drax does not harvest forests and has not taken any material directly from the two areas the BBC has looked at. The forests in British Columbia are harvested for high value timber used in construction, not the production of biomass.”
The committee is now expected to send Drax written questions.