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UK farmers rally to support AD in parliament

Almost 150 farmers joined around 90 Members of Parliament (MP) and Peers the UK’s House of Commons today to champion the anaerobic digestion (AD) industry.

Farming representatives from across the UK will join the farming themed event to raise awareness about the technology's value to their businesses and the rural economy.

They will also petition politicians for more targeted support for on-farm AD operators, as called earlier in February by the Renewable Energy Association.

The event is the AD industry's first ever reception in the Houses of Parliament.

“The overwhelming political interest we have received - with almost 90 MPs and Peers requesting to join the event - could signal a marked shift in recognition for the industry's considerable value,” said Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association's CEO Charlotte Morton.

According to Morton, a growth surge in on-farm AD, which has seen the number of plants double to 172 over the last two years, highlights how much farmers are recognising the benefit of integrating AD into their businesses.

ADBA, an AD industry advocate group, argues that AD helps improve farming resilience, generate vital baseload energy, improve food production through sustainable crop rotation and nutrient-rich biofertiliser, and contribute to decarbonising the farming, heat, and transport sectors.

The Shadow Farming Minister Nick Smith echoed ADBA’s sentiment, calling AD an “important tool” in the fight against climate change.

“Inedible food bound for the scrap heap being turned into cleaner, greener energy is exactly the sort of thinking we should be taking into all walks of life,” Smith said.

“With farm incomes struggling, I would be happy to see more small farms access this technology if it meant less of our waste going to waste.”

The Chair of the influential House of Commons Select Committee, responsible for scrutinising the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs policy, Neil Parish also saw AD as a way to divert waste from landfills.

“AD is a good clean energy alternative that sees us using more of our planet’s resources and wasting less food,” said Parish.