The Mail on Sunday criticises anaerobic digestion again in new article

UK newspaper The Mail on Sunday has once again criticised the anaerobic digestion (AD) process in an article published yesterday (21 May, 2017).

In an article written by journalist David Rose, entitled ‘This green and poisoned land’, the newspaper describes how an AD operator in Tregaron, Wales, caused a “serious pollution incident”.

The article names the owners of the AD plant as Jim and William Lloyd.

According to Rose, last December, just a few months after the AD plant was built, the digester trigged an “ecological catastrophe” near a farm.

The paper maintained that “thousands of gallons of black toxic slime began sliding slowly downhill across those verdant meadows to a nearby stream – a tributary of the (river) Teifi”.

The article added: “The result was a poisonous ‘tsunami’, a flood of putrid sludge that flowed down the stream and into the river for hours. The consequences were devastating, and are likely to last many years.”

The ultimate cause of the leak was “shoddily” installed plastic pipework, the article proclaimed.

According to The Mail on Sunday article, owner Jim Lloyd said the leak from the tank was “a complete construction failure”. The article stated: “A U-bend in a plastic pipe that formed the tank outlet blew out under the pressure of the toxic liquid. But because it was underground, nobody noticed until the slime hit the Teifi.”

This is the latest in a string of negative articles published by The Mail on Sunday on the anaerobic digestion sector. In January, the paper referred to AD as “the great green guzzlers” that cause “mass destruction to farmland”.  It also said that AD plants are continuing to get “thousands of pounds in subsidies paid by every energy bill-payer”.

In response to that article in January, Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) chief executive Charlotte Morton said: “AD plants are indeed eligible for payments through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), but provide exceptional value for money both for the public purse and the environment through: producing green gas and biofertilisers; improving the UK’s energy security by reducing our dependence on imported fossil-fuel supplies from countries such as Qatar and Algeria; recycling organic wastes such as sewage, inedible food waste and farm wastes; reducing the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions; and recycling nutrients, thus helping to restore the UK’s depleted soils and improve our food security.”

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

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