We need more biogas, now. That was the loud and clear message delivered at the ADBA National Conference, where the NFU and WRAP committed to working with ADBA to secure the rapid roll out of AD to achieve net zero. And Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change observed that “without AD we won’t make it”.
Over 200 delegates attended the event on December 11, despite rail strikes and the distraction of the general election.
The keynote speaker, NFU Vice President Stuart Roberts, told the conference that the NFU has committed to achieving Net Zero across agriculture by 2040. Mr Roberts said, “AD has an integral part to play in that. With AD we can put something in and get value out – nutrients and methane.
“We are part of the climate change solution. We need the new government to be really ambitious and gives us the policies to put a rocket under the industry and drive us forward.”
He proposed a roll out of “more than 100 plants plus a year”.
“The NFU backs and supports this industry that positively adds value to something we call waste but it isn’t waste. We can’t deliver net zero without partners and without you guys we can’t deliver sustainable agriculture.
“We’re excited about Net Zero and we see you guys as key partners in delivering that.”
Dr Peter Maddox, Director of WRAP, echoed that view in a blog – Food For Thought at ADBA National Conference – and committed to working with ADBA “to see how we can work together more closely” to create an enabling environment for the development of more AD. “We want to ensure unavoidable food waste is recovered as a feedstock for AD,” Mr Maddox writes.
Meanwhile, Chris Stark, emphasised the narrow window of opportunity to achieve Net Zero. “If we don’t set a course to achieve Net Zero in the next 24 months, the next decade [to achieve current carbon budget targets] looks impossible and the next century looks… ropey,” he said. “The next six months are very important, more than any previous. We need to have a nexus of policies that make sense to achieving Net Zero – and make sense to the AD industry too.”
He continued, “At the CCC we stand in the future and look back, ‘hindcasting’. Bioresources of all types are very, very valuable; its flexibility is its value across lots of sectors and we need to see a strong set of policies set out.”
He said how they materialised would be determined ‘regionally’, reflecting available resources.
The fact that the UK is hosting COP 26 in December 2020 is a great benefit to Net Zero planning, as the government will want to avoid embarrassment.
“The government needs to connect domestic plans to achieve net zero to be a credible president,” he said. “Without AD we won’t make it. AD gives us flexibility and delivers choices you wouldn’t get otherwise.”