UK’s AD industry responds to agriculture bill

In a press release, the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) responded to the new post-Brexit agriculture bill designed to subsidise farmers for producing clean energy.

The bill, introduced on the 12 September, outlines the UK government’s intentions to reward the production of cleaner energy as part of delivering a ‘Green Brexit’.

A government press release details how farmers and land managers will be paid for better air and water quality, improved soil health, higher animal welfare standards, public access to the countryside and measures to reduce flooding.

There will also be funding available for farmers to collaborate and develop relevant research projects that they want and need, whether that be on soil health or sustainable livestock farming.

“AD [anaerobic digestion] is a vital tool that can support farmers to do exactly this by allowing them to diversify their income, treat their wastes, restore their depleted soils, and generate on-site renewable heat and power,” said ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton.

“There are currently over 330 on-farm AD plants providing these benefits across the UK, but we estimate that there is the potential for this number to increase at least ten-fold, particularly given that only two out of the 90 million tonnes of farm wastes produced in the UK are currently recycled through AD.”

AD has become a trending topic among both critics and supporters in Europe. Earlier this month, Bioenergy Insight reported on the Irish Green Party’s concerns that AD could affect the distribution of resources in the agricultural sector.

“It’s therefore essential for the government to provide, as part of its proposed bill, clear and meaningful incentives for farmers to introduce AD into their farming operations and for the use of digestate-derived biofertiliser, which can restore nutrients and carbon to soil and reduce the need for chemical-derived fertilisers.”

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