The Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) has announced that 34 signatories have put their names to its voluntary guidelines on best practice for crop feedstocks for AD plants.
The guidance has been supported by Defra, and was developed in conjunction with ADBA members and the National Farmers’ Union, among others.
It details how crops can be grown as feedstock without disrupting agricultural food production or taking up land that would be more appropriately used for other purposes.
ADBA said that 45,000 hectares, or 0.3%, of agricultural land in the UK will be used for crop feedstocks this year, with a possible rise to 60,000 by 2020.
ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton said that using crops in this way was important if the UK was to meet its climate change targets.
“With bioenergy sustainability criteria due to be implemented for RHI plants in October, the industry will be subject to stringent requirements to demonstrate carbon savings,” she said.
“Farming for any purpose also needs to consider how to grow crops in a way which benefits the local environment, and feedstocks for AD are no exception.”
The body announced at its annual conference that the rapid expansion of the industry in the past five years is expected to continue with a possibly 500 AD plants in operation by 2020.