Posted by: James Maloy | February 11, 2010

340,000 to 1,750,000 life years lost by 2020 due to Biomass Combustion in UK

Wake Up America!

Below is a parliamentary question, with a response from a Minister for Energy and Climate Change.  He cites government estimates of how many people will die from air pollution in the UK as a result of the government’s biomass expansion program (they obviously don’t see this as a reason for a policy-rethink).

Note that PM 2.5 is still not regulated in the UK, the State of Florida or the U.S.

Over 75,000 physicians in the Florida Medical Association, Hampden District Medical Society, American Lung Association, Capital Medical Society agree that particulate matter – PM, PM10 and especially PM2.5 cause significant health problems, diseases and death in our society. Medical professionals across the country are begging our elected officials to listen to their concerns and limit or halt Biomass Incineration projects.

“Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of the effects of the use of biomass boilers installed to meet Renewable Energy Strategy targets on (a) air quality, (b) levels of particulate emissions and (c) levels of (i) morbidity and (ii) mortality.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
(a) The Government have, in support of the development of the Renewable Energy Strategy (RES), carried out modelling of the effect of an increase in the use of biomass for heat and power on the emissions, ambient air concentrations and public health impacts of fine particles (PM2.5), coarser particles (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide. The key air quality results of this analysis are given in the Renewable Energy Strategy on page 121.

(b) As part of the analysis the increases in the emissions of particulates were estimated over a number of different scenarios. For PM2.5 these were between 0.75 and 9.1 ktonnes from a baseline in 2007 of 82 ktonnes. For PM10, emissions were estimated as being between 1.3 and 9.5 ktonnes from a 2007 baseline of 135 ktonnes.

(c) (i) The impacts on morbidity resulting from the uptake of biomass as a renewable energy source were not assessed.

(ii) The mortality health impacts of these scenarios were estimated to be between 340,000 and 1,750,000 measured as the number of life years lost in 2020 from the impact on air quality of increased biomass combustion.”

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