SEPA issues position statement on use of crop residues in anaerobic digestion plants

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has issued a position statement on the use of crop residues in small anaerobic digestion (AD) plants which accept less than 100 tonnes of waste per day.

The position covers misshapen and bruised produce separated on farms or pack-houses as well as trimmings removed on-farm or in pack houses in preparation for sale.  

This position applies only to AD plants that accept crop residues (either as the sole feedstock or as a supplement to purpose grown energy crops) but do not accept any other waste materials such as manures and slurries and distillery wastes. The AD plant does not need to be located on the farm or grading facility producing the original crop or crop residues, and may accept inputs from multiple producers.

According to SEPA , it will not take seek to take enforcement action where an AD plant using crop resides as described above, either on their own or mixed with purpose grown energy crops, operates without a waste management licence provided the following requirements are met:

- The capacity of the plant is less than 100 tonnes per day.

 - The operation of the AD plant must not endanger human health or use processes or methods which could harm the environment, in particular, by causing risk to water, soil, plants or animals; by causing nuisance through noise or odours; or by adversely affecting the countryside or places of special interest (these are “the Relevant Objectives”). Any plant that fails to meet any of the Relevant Objectives, for example by causing nuisance through odour shall not be covered by this regulatory position and SEPA may take appropriate enforcement action in accordance with its Enforcement Policy and associated guidance.

 - No other waste materials (including manures and slurries) are used as feedstocks in the process - Any crop residues which are stored at the AD plant prior to their use in the plant must be stored securely and such storage must comply with the Relevant Objectives.

- The crop residues are produced as an integral part of a production process - The crop residues are only used as a green energy input and the use is lawful i.e. the crop residues fulfil all relevant product, environmental and health protection requirements for the specific use.

This story was written by Liz Gyekye , editor of Bioenergy Insight.

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