The UK anaerobic digestion (AD) industry has today welcomed the publication of the government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper, with the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) saying that AD can play a ‘key role’ in enhancing British industrial capacity.
Agri-tech and the circular economy are key tenets of the White Paper, with AD playing an important role in both sectors through supporting sustainable agriculture and organic resource recovery.
On sustainable agriculture, the White Paper says: “Rising global demand for food and water is increasing the need for agriculture that produces more from less. [The government’s] new ‘Transforming food production: from farm to fork’ programme will put the UK at the forefront of advanced sustainable agriculture […] By using precision technologies we can make that a reality: transform food production whilst reducing emissions, pollution, waste and soil erosion.”
On the circular economy, the White Paper says: “A linear ‘take, make, dispose’ economy risks eroding the natural capital central to its long-term growth through resource depletion and environmental pollution. [The government is] committed to moving towards a more circular economy – to raising productivity by using resources more efficiently, to increasing resilience by contributing to a healthier environment, and to supporting long-term growth by regenerating our natural capital.”
As part of this, the government has pledged to create a new Bioeconomy Strategy, which will “set out a framework for growth in the sector to develop new low carbon bio-based products and processes”.
The White Paper also describes ‘the move to cleaner economic growth – through low carbon technologies and the efficient use of resources’ as one of the four ‘Grand Challenges’ for the future. AD is part of both the low-carbon and resource-efficiency economies so is ideally placed to deliver on this Grand Challenge.
ADBA Chief Executive Charlotte Morton said,“There are a lot of encouraging messages in this White Paper, and with the right support, the UK AD industry can play a key role in helping to meet the goals of the Industrial Strategy.
“In terms of sustainable agriculture, AD is vital to transforming food production so that we can ‘produce more from less’ whilst reducing emissions, pollution, waste, and soil erosion across the UK. Not only does AD offer a treatment option for organic agricultural wastes, it also produces renewable energy and transport fuel, reduces farm emissions, and helps restore soils through the production of nutrient-rich biofertiliser.
“We’re encouraged to hear that the government will increase incentives for investment in sustainable agriculture to help grow markets for innovative technologies and techniques. AD is clearly one such technology, so we look forward to further details on this support.
“The government is also right to highlight the benefits of moving towards a more circular economy in which resources are used more efficiently, and a dedicated Bioeconomy Strategy is an important step forward in this regard. As the only recycling option for organic wastes, AD can reduce emissions from waste and turn these wastes into the resources that the UK economy desperately needs.
“The government now needs to follow up on this promising White Paper with concrete support for the AD sector so it can deliver its huge potential across the UK.”
AD’s role in the Industrial Strategy will be a key theme of the ADBA National Conference 2017, taking place next Thursday (7th December) at One Great George Street in London.