AHEAD OF the UK's December General Election, the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association has written to national party leaders proposing a list of digester-friendly policies that a new government should embrace.

ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton emphasised that the AD industry needed policy support if the UK was to meet its Net Zero emissions target – but with the right support, Ms Morton claimed the AD industry could cut emissions by 5% by 2030.

She highlighted four areas that the next Government should address:

Cross-departmental coordination -

AD can bring benefits across multiple sectors and so policy must be coordinated across Government departments for the sector to fulfil its potential – with the Treasury at the heart of it.

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.

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 needs clarity on future policy incentives to stimulate planning and investment in the additional capacity that will be required once additional food waste collections come in.

Research and Innovation -

ADBA has proposed the setting up of a virtual Centre for Anaerobic Biotechnology and Bioresources Research to transform an industry currently perceived mainly as a waste treatment technology into a low cost multi-functional biotechnology.

Commenting on these asks, Ms Morton said: “The next ten years are critical for achieving significant emissions reductions. If we are to meet Net Zero targets, ministers must implement policies that promote the development of this sector as a matter of urgency. Other renewable industries, such as wind and solar, have enjoyed consistent support and are now extremely cost-effective and established as part of our renewable energy mix. AD and biogas should be given the same fair treatment now so that it can realise its huge potential towards decarbonising the UK economy by 2030."