UK’s anaerobic digestion industry sees encouraging signs from government

The UK’s Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) has welcomed the British government’s new Industrial Strategy White Paper, saying that anaerobic digestion (AD) can play a key role in ‘enhancing’ Britain’s industrial capacity.

Key features of the White Paper are agri-tech and the circular economy. Anaerobic digestion plays an important role in both sectors by supporting sustainable agriculture and organic resource recovery, ADBA argues.

Concerning the circular economy, the White Paper says: “A linear ‘take, make, dispose’ economy risks eroding the natural capital central to its long-term growth through resource depletion and environmental pollution. [The government is] committed to moving towards a more circular economy – to raising productivity by using resources more efficiently, to increasing resilience by contributing to a healthier environment, and to supporting long-term growth by regenerating our natural capital.”

The government has therefore pledged to create a new Bioeconomy Strategy to establish a framework for growth in the sector.

“The move to cleaner economic growth – through low carbon technologies and the efficient use of resources” is described in the White Paper as one of four ‘Grand Challenges’ for the future. 

“In terms of sustainable agriculture, AD is vital to transforming food production so that we can ‘produce more from less’ whilst reducing emissions, pollution, waste, and soil erosion across the UK. Not only does AD offer a treatment option for organic agricultural wastes, it also produces renewable energy and transport fuel, reduces farm emissions, and helps restore soils through the production of nutrient-rich biofertiliser,” said Charlotte Morton, ADBA CEO.

“We’re encouraged to hear that the government will increase incentives for investment in sustainable agriculture to help grow markets for innovative technologies and techniques. AD is clearly one such technology, so we look forward to further details on this support.”

Morton continued: “The government is also right to highlight the benefits of moving towards a more circular economy in which resources are used more efficiently, and a dedicated Bioeconomy Strategy is an important step forward in this regard. As the only recycling option for organic wastes, AD can reduce emissions from waste and turn these wastes into the resources that the UK economy desperately needs.

“The government now needs to follow up on this promising White Paper with concrete support for the AD sector so it can deliver its huge potential across the UK.”

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