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AD is "important but not at expense of cutting the deficit" claims Defra deputy director

Ministers will be working to promote a “huge increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion (AD)” but not at the expense of working to cut the budget deficit, according to a senior member of staff from the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Speaking at the inaugural UK Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas exhibition and conference Defra deputy director for waste strategy Diana Linskey told delegates that while Defra and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) plan to work together to promote AD, the overarching thing for the coalition Government to be doing is to cut the deficit.

She said: “What the Government wants to do and what it is actually possible to do may not necessarily fit together.”

Linskey also spoke of some of the outcomes of a meeting held yesterday between AD industry experts and senior ministers. According to Linskey, the AD roundtable meeting attended by Climate Change Minister Greg Barker and Environment Minister Lord Henley, showed the commitment that the Government has made to AD as well as allowing Ministers the opportunity to understand what the challenges and blockages are to developing AD in this country.

She said: “There was great agreement that there is potential for a lot more AD plants but we need to quantify it so you won’t get an answer on what ‘huge’ means from me today.”

The opportunity for the AD sector to create more green jobs was also a key feature of the roundtable discussions, according to Linskey and the outcome of the meeting was largely positive.

She said: “The next step is for Defra and DECC to draw up an action plan looking at the economic capacity for AD. The Government and the industry realise the ambition for AD and we need to make sure everything we do will contribute to the aim to cut the deficit.”

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