Minister for Environment Joan Ruddock and Defra ministers Phil Woolas and Jeff Rooker met with key stakeholders on July 16 to discuss the future of the AD demonstrator projects and discuss how the UK can make greater use of AD technology. Secretary of State for the
Environment, Hilary Benn, announced first details of the scheme in February.
Woolas said: Anaerobic digestion is still an emerging technology outside the water treatment industry in this country, and its clear we are not yet making full use of its potential. It has a number of real environmental benefits which we want to maximise, but to do this we need to overcome certain barriers, like the chicken and egg stand-off which can discourage investment in unfamiliar technology, and the lack of understanding of its benefits or the value of its outputs.
Our £10 million demonstration programme will provide a focus for joint action to make sure that the future development of anaerobic digestion in England is as cost-effective and environmentally beneficial as possible. We will be inviting bids for the projects in the autumn.
The AD demonstrator programme will be delivered through a capital grant competition run by the Waste & Resources Action Programme with assistance from the Carbon Trust. It will seek to fund between three and six projects that demonstrate how state of the art use of AD technology can make a significant contribution to achieving aims such as maximising the cost of effective production of biogas or maximising the environmental benefits from the use of AD and its products.
Potential bidders are encouraged to attend a series of stakeholder briefing events that will be held before inviting bids. A follow up meeting in the autumn will review progress on how the Government can reach the goal of increasing AD capacity in the UK.