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Drax shareholders met by protestors as they reject executive pay

CCS blow
CCS blow

Shareholders in British power group Drax have been met with angry protestors.

Around 20 to 30 demonstrators greeted investors as they arrived for the group’s AGM at the Grand Hotel and Spa in York.

It comes amid a shareholder rebellion which has seen around a third of investors raise concerns over awards for finance director Will Gardiner.

The director’s remuneration policy, which outlines the framework for executive pay until 2020, also received 22.97% votes against.

Drax Group generates 7% of the UK’s electricity and owns a coal and biomass-fired power plant in Selby, North Yorkshire.

The demonstration was one of four organised by anti-coal and biomass campaigners to coincide with the York meeting.

The other three were planned outside offices of Drax’s two largest investors in London and also at the port in Liverpool where the protesters said wood pellets arrive from the United States to be burnt at the power station.

In York, the demonstrators waved placards, chanted anti-biomass burning slogans and handed out leaflets to locals and tourists. They were watched by two police officers.

Speaking outside the hotel, Anne Harris, from the Coal Action Network, said: “We are protesting against Drax because they burn coal from the Cerrejon coal mine in Colombia where indigenous people are losing their land and also losing the water because the coal mine takes all the water.

“And it produces lots of dust and they’re breathing in that dust and it’s causing respiratory problems for the people who live in the area.”

Ms Harris said: “Drax claim that burning biomass is better but, in reality, biomass produces carbon dioxide. It produces it now and we need to be preventing runaway climate change. We need to stop global warming.”

Drax announced a £340 million deal in December to buy gas and electricity supplier Opus Energy as part of a strategy overhaul.

The firm aimed to combine Opus with its existing Haven Power provider to create Britain’s fifth biggest non-domestic energy retailer.

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