MSPs challenge Salmond to back ban on biomass plants

FIRST Minister Alex Salmond was today being challenged to back a ban on new biomass plants until the environmental impact has been independently assessed.

Edinburgh North & Leith Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm was set to use First Minister's Questions to press Mr Salmond to support the moratorium, which has already been endorsed by Lothians SNP MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville and seven SNP colleagues.

Forth Energy wants to build a 360 million biomass power station at Leith docks and import woodchip from North America or Scandinavia to help fuel it.

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Earlier this year, a study claimed the plant, billed as an example of green energy, would take at least 40 years to become carbon neutral because new trees would have to be planted to replace those used in the process.

Mr Chisholm said: "I want the First Minister to back a moratorium on new biomass plants pending further research into the consequences for climate change."