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ADBA renews its pre-election asks from the new Conservative Government to support the UK AD industry

ADBA renews its pre-election asks from the new Conservative Government to support the UK anaerobic digestion industry  

  • Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association Chief Executive Charlotte Morton congratulates Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his General Election victory
  • She however emphasises her pre-election call for the new Government to unlock the AD industry's potential to address the climate emergency and help achieve the UK's Net Zero emissions by 2050 target.
  • The AD industry can play a significant role in the development of a low carbon circular economy, creating both thousands of jobs and export opportunities for the UK in the coming decade.

Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA), has congratulated Prime Minister Boris Johnson on getting a clear mandate to form a new Government in yesterday's General Election.  She however reiterated the trade association's pre-election asks to support the growth of the anaerobic digestion (AD) and biogas industry towards achieving the UK's Net Zero emissions ambition and contributing to the development of a strong low carbon circular economy.

AD treats organic wastes such as food waste, sewage and manure – which would otherwise be emitting harmful gases on landfills or in incinerators  – and recycles them into green gas for electricity, transport and heat on one hand, and into bio-fertilisers to replenish soils on the other.  In doing so, it enables the economy to move away from fossil-based resources, in line with the Resources and Waste Strategy established by the previous government.  The AD and biogas sector is already cutting UK emissions by 1% annually and has the potential to deliver a further 5% by 2030 .  It can also create tens of thousands of new jobs over the next decade and opens up exporting opportunities for the country. 

Commenting on the election result, Charlotte 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 UK greenhouse gases emissions by 6% 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 the tens of thousands of jobs and economic opportunities that this will bring as a matter of the utmost urgency“.

In her letter to the Prime Minister, she highlights four areas needing support if the AD industry is to deliver its contribution:

1 – Cross-departmental coordination

The Treasury must keep its new brief to coordinate environmental policy. AD is currently predominantly recognised for its role in generating green energy for electricity, heat and transport, but the low carbon residue from the AD process is also needed for use as an alternative to chemical fertilisers for farming and is central to the future of biorefining.  AD brings benefits across multiple sectors and so policy must be designed and coordinated effectively across Government departments for this sector to fulfil its carbon abatement potential.

2 – Funding for separate food waste collections

Food waste must be collected separately and diverted to AD plants for recycling, so the current commitment to mandatory separate collections for households and businesses must be put into effect as soon as possible, and Local Authorities must be funded to meet set-up and infrastructure development costs. Over the next three years, 70 Local Authorities are due to renew their waste collection contracts and it is crucial that these contracts include separate collection of food waste and treatment through AD.

3 – Policy incentives for anaerobic digestion

The next Government must commit as soon as possible to additional support for AD beyond 2021 as all current support is due to end by this date.  The AD sector urgently needs clarity on future policy incentives to stimulate planning and investment in the additional capacity that is required to efficiently recycle the additional food waste that will be produced once collections come in, and to treat the 90M tons of manures and slurries currently emitting methane and other pollutants. 

4 – Research and Innovation

Supporting R&I could help supercharge the AD industry and put it at the cutting edge of biorefining science.  ADBA has proposed the setting up of a virtual Centre for Anaerobic Biotechnology and Bioresources Research (CABB) to transform an industry currently perceived mainly as a waste treatment technology into a low cost multi-functional biotechnology. It would also provide a boon to British exports and enhance the sector's performance to eliminate the need for future subsidies.

– ENDS –

For further information, contact:
Jocelyne Bia, Senior Communications Consultant ; tel: +44 (0)7910 878510

Notes to Editors

  • At full potential, the AD industry could reduce the UK’s total emissions by at least 5% by 2030, fuel 416%  of the UK’s bus fleet or 68% of HGVs, and create 60,000 new green jobs
  • The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) is the trade association for the UK anaerobic digestion (AD) and biogas industry. 
  • ADBA’s vision is to see the full potential of the UK AD industry realised so it can help the UK achieve its emissions targets and other policy goals, creating a truly circular economy.
  • It acts as the voice for the UK AD industry and companies and organisations working on novel technologies and processes that complement the AD process and products. With its members, ADBA promotes the economic and environmental benefits of AD in the UK.

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