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Defra's £3m boost for farmers to build AD plants

A £3m funding initiative to help farmers set up small-scale anaerobic digestion (AD) plants has been announced by environment secretary Owen Paterson.

The Defra-funded loan scheme allows farmers to apply for business plant grants of up to £10,000 to investigate the environmental and economic potential of building an AD plant on their farm.

They can then apply to the On Farm AD Fund, administered by WRAP, for up to £400,000 or up to 50% of the overall costs of the AD plant.

Farmers stand to save money by using AD and can gain an income by exporting electricity to the grid. They will also be eligible for Government subsidies for producing renewable energy.

Using bio-fertiliser from the AD process may also replace the cost of buying artificial fertilisers.

Paterson said: “This funding provides an opportunity for farmers across the country to consider whether AD technology is right for their farms, in order to cut waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and recycle valuable nutrients back to the land.

Liz Goodwin, WRAP’s chief executive, said: “Access to finance for on-farm AD has been difficult, especially for small scale operations. Currently there is no targeted financial support available to increase this capacity.”

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