PROPOSALS to introduce new testing for compost and digestate from anaerobic digestion have been put on hold after lobbying from across Europe.
The proposals would have required digestate, a by-product of anaerobic digestion, to adhere to a strict set of criteria before it could be used as fertiliser. The criteria and proposed testing were put forward by the European Commission’s Joint Research Committee (JRC), which has now announced that the plans are on hold.
In the UK digestate quality is assured by the Renewable Energy Association’s biofertiliser certification scheme. The REA had lobbied for the new proposals to be dropped on the basis that they would undermine confidence in its certification scheme, as well as putting increased and expensive regulatory burdens on UK producers.
The association has announced that it will take fresh evidence on the proposals at a workshop in February.
“The development of a market for quality certified digestate and maximising its cash value as a biofertiliser is a vital part of the commercial equation,” said REA head of biogas, David Collins. “The End of Waste proposals, however, would subject all wastes intended for recycling – from biogas digestate to the products of mechanical biological treatment and even sewage – to the same extensive set of costly and largely unnecessary lab tests.”