Parliamentary reception hopes to influence policy environment for small scale AD in rural farming

AD industry representatives hope Defra and DECC can work together to assess how government can support small-scale AD to the benefit of rural farming businesses.

Today (1 March) in the House of Commons almost 150 farmers will join around 90 MPs and Peers at a parliamentary event aimed at championing the anaerobic digestion industry.
Farming representatives from across the UK will join the farming themed event to raise awareness about the technology’s value to their businesses and the rural economy, and to petition politicians for more targeted support for on-farm AD operators.
The event is seemingly the AD industry’s first ever reception in the Houses of Parliament and has received huge interest from MPs and Peers – with almost 90 of them requesting to attend, according to ADBA’s Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton. She was hopeful the event could mark a shift in recognition for the AD industry and its value.
She commented: “A growth surge in on-farm AD, with a doubling of plant numbers to 172 over the last two years alone, highlights how much farmers are recognising the benefit of integrating AD into their businesses.
Building on this momentum, she said, the industry is now seeking support for “the considerable non-energy contributions that benefit every UK household, but for which farmers do not receive any recognition”.
“We want to see Defra and DECC working closely together to assess how government can support small-scale AD to continue to improve rural farming businesses’ resilience in a policy environment where dwindling incentives challenge its commercial viability at the very point at which it is scaling, and when the Committee on Climate Change are urging action to decarbonise farming.”
The Shadow Farming Minister, Nick Smith MP, commented: “Anaerobic digestion could be an important tool in our bid to leave this planet as healthy as we found it.
“Inedible food bound for the scrap heap being turned into cleaner, greener energy is exactly the sort of thinking we should be taking into all walks of life.
“With farm incomes struggling, I would be happy to see more small farms access this technology if it meant less of our waste going to waste.”
The Chair of the House of Commons Select Committee responsible for scrutinising Defra policy, Neil Parish MP, also added: “Anaerobic digestion is a good clean energy alternative that sees us using more of our planet’s resources and wasting less food. This will enable us to live in a cleaner and greener environment both now and in the future.”