Bashir's stern warning to Drax inquiry
Furbisher Media client Amjad Bashir has written to the European Commission warning that it is overstepping its powers in its state-aid investigation of power company Drax. The Yorkshire MEP told the Commission's Director General for Competition that the department was wrong to include potential impact in the United States within the cope of its probe. And he also warned of potential damage to the UK's renewable energy balance if the EU hampered the huge investment planned to convert the Drax electricity plant from coal to biomass fuel. Mr Bashir issued the caution in a firmly-worded submission to the Brussels investigation which will rule whether the Drax scheme involves state aid deemed illegal under EU law. The Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber told investigators: "I consider that DG Competition is going considerably further than its regulatory mandate...in considering whether Drax’s operations will cause market distortion in the United States. As is laid down in the treaties the Commission investigation should focus on potential distortions on the Internal Market of the European Union." He reminded the investigation that as the United Kingdom’s largest power station Drax produces roughly 8 per cent of the UK’s electricity and employs a large workforce in Yorkshire and across the UK. It was also the largest source of renewable power, providing 12% of the UK’s renewable power and contributing significantly towards Britain's hitting green-energy targets. And he said: "This is due to the significant levels of investment that have already been made by Drax in converting two of its six units from coal burning to biomass. This has seen £750 million worth of investment in my constituency alone and a further £300m on import facilities at ports across the United Kingdom.