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ADBA responds to Mail on Sunday article

ADBA Chief Executive Charlotte Morton has written an open letter to the editor of The Mail on Sunday in response to the article published on AD on 1st January 2017. The letter reads as follows:



David Rose’s article of 1st Jan 2017 (‘The great green guzzler con’) is misleading in its representation of anaerobic digestion (AD). AD plants are indeed eligible for payments through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), but provide exceptional value for money both for the public purse and the environment through: producing green gas and biofertilisers; improving the UK’s energy security by reducing our dependence on imported fossil-fuel supplies from countries such as Qatar and Algeria; recycling organic wastes such as sewage, inedible food waste and farm wastes; reducing the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions; and recycling nutrients, thus helping to restore the UK’s depleted soils and improve our food security.


The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) encourages all its members to operate plants to the highest possible standards, and is currently developing a Best Practice Scheme to help the industry maximise its environmental, health and safety, and operational performance.


Anaerobic digesters treat a range of different feedstocks depending on local conditions. Over half the energy produced by the industry is generated from sewage sludge, followed by liquid industrial effluents. ADBA is strongly pushing for separate food waste collections in England so that as a nation we reduce and recycle through AD far more of the food waste we generate, of which there is 10 million tonnes still going to landfill or incineration in the UK. Energy crops are grown for AD by farmers as valuable break and cover crops in a rotation, but these represent less than 0.5% of the UK’s agricultural land – more land is used for golf courses than for growing crops for AD. ADBA members grow crops for AD in accordance with our best practice guidance, which sits alongside the Government’s sustainability criteria that operators must meet to receive money through the RHI.


AD is helping to keep the UK’s lights on, recycling the organic wastes we all produce, reducing the UK’s emissions and helping to keep farmers farming. ADBA will continue to support the industry to do this in the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner possible.


Yours faithfully,


Charlotte Morton

Chief Executive, ADBA

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