ENERGY

New government and on-farm AD

AD after Brexit

Just when you thought British politics couldn’t throw up any more surprises, last month’s general election results have blown everything right open again. We now have a Conservative minority government backed by the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and with Brexit talks already underway, the stakes for British farming have never been higher.

How AD can help farmers?

We’ve witnessed a long, hard-fought general election campaign, and what is needed now is action to reassure and support the on-farm anaerobic digestion (AD) sector. AD has a crucial role to play in supporting farmers, particularly in a post-CAP world: integrating AD into a farming business to treat farm waste, food waste, or purpose-grown crops can provide a lucrative additional revenue stream and save farmers money on energy generation, fertiliser production, and waste management.

The Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) has called for swift action from the new Government to overcome uncertainty in the AD industry so it can boost the rural economy, create 35,000 rural jobs, and ensure security of energy supply at a time when a third of the UK’s natural gas imports come from troubled Qatar.

“There is a huge opportunity for the farming community to help shape policy goals” Charlotte Morton

In order to lock in the progress that on-farm AD has made over recent years, ADBA is calling for the new Government to support UK farmers by restoring viable tariffs to the Feed-in-Tariff scheme and removing the AD capacity cap. It’s also critical that the delayed legislation on the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is passed as soon as possible to enable new biogas and biomethane plants to be built.

Policy prospects

But what should we expect in terms of farming policy from the new Government? The Conservative manifesto makes high-level promises to ‘bring sustainable growth to the rural economy’, ‘provide stability to farmers’ as the UK leaves the EU, and devises a ‘new agri-environment system’, and the DUP manifesto is even more vague. The fact that so much of the detail on these broad-brush policy goals still needs to be fleshed out means there is a huge opportunity for the UK farming community to help shape them.

New Government and On-Farm AD by @charlotte_adba @adbioresources | Click To Tweet

What is certain is that AD will need to play a key role in the Government’s farming policy programme in order for these goals to be met.

That’s why we’re calling for AD to be a key part of a bespoke agri-tech sector deal within BEIS’s Industrial Strategy – our proposal for this sets out the value of AD’s energy and non-energy benefits and how it is able to help reduce current agricultural payments under the CAP by up to £1.5bn.

Show and tell

On-farm AD will be a key theme of ADBA’s UK AD & Biogas tradeshow, which takes place from 5-6 July at the NEC in Birmingham. This year UK AD & Biogas is joining with the World Biogas Expo to create the #1 global tradeshow for biogas, inviting farmers and agricultural experts from around the world to share knowledge and best practice. You can register for free to attend the show at adbioresources.org/biogastradeshow.

Farmland Magazine

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Charlotte Morton

Chief Executive of the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA)

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