European policy has offered leadership where the UK government has often been lacking in progress towards a low carbon economy. Without EU targets for waste prevention, we wouldn’t have a landfill tax. Without EU legislation on carbon emissions, we wouldn’t have had the Climate Change Act. And without the Renewable Energy Directive, we wouldn’t have had targets for electricity generation, heating or transport.
Maybe that’s going too far. But it goes without saying that an industry like AD needs a strong voice in Brussels. As well as high level policy issues, the European Commission is starting to have a more direct influence over industries like AD. The negotiations over End of Waste criteria for biodegradable waste have demonstrated that clearly over the past twelve months.
To have a strong voice in Brussels, the UK clearly cannot expect to act alone. The European Biogas Association (EBA) is therefore perfectly placed to up the ante in lobbying the relevant EU organisations such as the Joint Research Centre (JRC) on end of waste and the Directorate of the Environment on indirect land use change (ILUC) legislation, as well as helping to coordinate the work of all the European renewables associations and helping to bring together the AD industries across Europe giving us all a stronger voice.
This is why at the EBA’s most recent AGM in January I raised that the UK anaerobic digestion sector was under represented within the EBA and in response the EBA board invited me to attend their quarterly board meetings.
For this to work we must have a clear voice within the Association. Each of the European biogas industries is facing their own challenges – Germany is a well-established and developed market, the UK’s is an area for growth and others are only just starting out. Just like we ask you, our members, to provide us with evidence, and let us know your concerns, the EBA must understand the UK AD industry’s needs and those of all the countries and associations it represents at a European level.
If we can work together with our European counterparts the roads ahead for all of us should be easier – with less chance that any country has to go it alone and reinvent the wheel. It may well be clichéd but it is true however you cut it – together we are stronger.