ADBA calls on new government to support AD industry

Following the Conservative Party’s landslide election victory in Thursday’s (12 December) general election, the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) has called on Boris Johnson’s new government to support the growth of the anaerobic digestion (AD) and biogas industry towards achieving net-zero emissions.

An anaerobic digestion (AD) plant

In a letter to the Prime Minister, ADBA Chief Executive Charlotte Morton reiterated her pre-election call for the government to unlock the AD industry’s potential, highlighting four areas that need support:

1: Cross-departmental coordination: Morton highlighted that AD brings benefits across multiple sectors, generating green energy for electricity, heat and transport whilst also producing a low carbon residue that can be used as an alternative to chemical fertilisers for farming.

2: Funding for separate food waste collections: ADBA called for the current commitment to mandatory separate collections for households and businesses, as proposed in the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, to be put into effect as soon as possible. The government should provide local authorities with funding to meet set-up and infrastructure development costs.

3. Policy incentives for AD: Morton’s letter urged the government to commit to additional support for AD beyond 2021 as all current support is set to end by this date. She also explained that the sector needs clarity on future policy incentives to stimulate planning and investment in the additional capacity that is required to recycle the additional food waste that will be produced once collections come in, and to treat the 90 million tonnes of manures and slurries currently emitting methane and other pollutants.

4: Research and innovation: ADBA has proposed the establishment of a virtual Centre for Anaerobic Biotechnology and Bioresources Research (CABB) to boost the industry and ensure that it is at the centre of biorefining science.

Commenting on the election result, Morton said: “The global demand of action to address the climate emergency is stronger than ever and the new government must ensure that the UK’s ambition to achieve net-zero targets by 2050 remains at the top of the policy agenda.

“The AD industry has been recognised by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the UK Committee on Climate Change as a significant solution to decarbonising the economy, especially in hard-to-decarbonise sectors such as agriculture, transport and heating.

“It has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by six per cent annually and I don’t believe that the UK can achieve its Net Zero targets without it. We are calling on the new Cabinet to demonstrate the political will to unlock this potential and implement a coordinated set of measures across all departments to remove barriers to the sector’s growth and create tens of thousands of jobs and economic opportunities that this will bring as a matter of the utmost urgency.”

Reducing emissions

The AD and biogas sector has a key role to play in the drive towards achieving net-zero emissions by enabling the economy to move away from fossil-based resources.

After a report published in June highlighted that biogas produced by AD could reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 12 per cent, the World Biogas Association (WBA) issued a series of recommendations on how governments and financial institutions can support the industry in fulfilling this decarbonisation potential.

The WBA recently declared at the UN’s Conference of Parties (COP25) in Madrid that the biogas sector will deliver a 12 per cent reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, provided world governments adequately support the industry.

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