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The mark of efficiency, best practice and professionalism in anaerobic digestion operation

The anaerobic digestion (AD) sector is very diverse in scale – ranging from a farmer with a plant of less than 500kW fed by manures, slurries, crops and crop residues, to a food waste operator running multiple sites across the country treating and recycling food waste into green energy and natural fertilisers. However, irrespective of size, all operators will have the common goal of combining optimal performance to ensure commercial viability with health and safety and environmental best practice to protect workers, the community and the environment.

What is the AD Certification Scheme (ADCS) ?

The AD Certification Scheme (ADCS) is the only certification scheme in the UK that assesses the all-round safety, environmental and operational performance of AD plants.

The scheme is a key element of the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association’s (ADBA) Best Practice Programme, focussing all its work to improve standards in the industry. Developed by ADBA with extensive engagement with industry stakeholders (developers, operators, consultants, regulators and trade bodies), ADCS aims to ensure the industry delivers consistently high quality, compliant and profitable projects that protect employees and respect and support their local community and environment.

ADCS brings professionalism and clarity on best practice and better access to support and guidance. The independent audit process and report helps operators ensure they meet required standards and, where necessary, identifies target areas for improvement. It ensures AD plants achieve operational efficiency and meet the highest levels of health and safety and environmental responsibility.


“ADCS certification demonstrates operational excellence and professionalism in the AD industry. Certified operators will reap obvious benefits from the recognition – not only improved performance and productivity, while adhering to high environmental, health and safety standards, but also confidence from their employees, customers, regulators, insurance companies, and neighbours that their local AD plant is managed by a responsible operator.”

Josh Henthorne, Technical Support Manager, ADBA

How does ADCS work?

ADCS certification is based on meeting nine criteria which overlap the BS OHSAS18001/ISO 45001; ISO 14001; PAS 110:2014 NS standards, Environmental Permitting, AD Quality Protocol and Animal By Product Regulations, whilst incorporating other aspects such as training, monitoring, and maintenance.

Operators signing up to ADCS will benefit from:

  • An independent check and validation of internal systems by expert auditors
  • Recommendations for improvements provided in a structured report,
  • The identification of opportunities to reduce risks in order to enhance the health and safety of site workers,
  • A way to compare their plant against industry-defined criteria,
  • The opportunity to check, and benchmark, that operational procedures are consistent across multiple plants.
  • Improved performance and increased profitability.

What doesl ADCS certification mean?

ADCS certification is based on meeting nine criteria which overlap the BS OHSAS18001/ISO 45001; ISO 14001; PAS 110:2014 NS standards, Environmental Permitting, AD Quality Protocol and Animal By Product Regulations, whilst incorporating other aspects such as training, monitoring, and maintenance.


Certification will:

  • Demonstrate an operator’s commitment to continuously improve the performance of the plant,
  • Demonstrate best practice in health and safety and environmental protection,
  • Demonstrate a commitment to innovation, operational excellence, and professionalism,
  • Give confidence to employees, regulators, insurers, and investors that the plant is run safely, responsibly and successfully,
  • Enhance the operator’s reputation within the AD industry and local community.

Certified AD plants also benefit from:

  • Using the ADCS certified logo to promote their business,
  • The best opportunity yet to secure the market’s most favourable terms from your insurance provider,
  • Opportunities to showcase the AD plant through ADBA PR activities and events.


Andigestion has always been ahead of the curve in terms of innovation and processes, and the main driver for applying for ADCS certification is our wish to maintain continual improvement. Certification goes some way to demonstrating that we are on top of things while the compliance system ensures that any changes to the way we operate are made the right way.

Tom Brown, Environmental Compliance Officer, Andigestion.


“ADCS is a vital scheme for demonstrating that the UK AD industry is a professional and competent sector that delivers consistently excellent projects. The scheme has many benefits both for the operators themselves and for the wider industry, bringing the confidence in the sector’s professionalism that will strengthen ADBA’s position as the operators’ voice among politicians, regulators, insurers, and investors. As a cornerstone of the industry Best Practice Programme the ADCS is proof to the world of a safe and well-run industry “

Thomas Minter, Director, Malaby Biogas


“We were delighted to be the first UK AD plant certified under this new scheme. It gives us the confidence that we are attaining the highest standards within the industry and will drive us forward to remain at the top. We hope that others will follow in our footsteps and apply for certification to help boost their environmental credentials and further highlight how important the AD industry is for the future of renewable energy throughout the UK.”

David McKee, Chief Technical Officer, Granville Ecopark


“For many years, we’ve been calling for an industry standard to define best practice – the consequences of getting it wrong from the outset can be significant. As an industry-driven, yet impartial programme, the ADCS ticks these boxes perfectly. For most, it provides reassurance for well-designed and well-operated facilities. For the minority, it provides helpful real-world guidance to effectively improve performance.”

Duncan McPherson, Chief Executive Officer, CooperÖstlund

To apply for ADCS certification...

Contact ADBA
tel: 020 3176 0503

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