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Food policy hampering AD sector says Agrivert chief

Agrivert’s chief executive Alexander Madden has called time on any new expansion plans until policy on food waste moves further up the political agenda.

Speaking to MRW, Madden said Agrivert’s construction of two more 3MW anaerobic digestion (AD) plants in Hertfordshire and South Wales – making five in all – would be the last for the foreseeable future due to uncertainty in the sector.

He said: “We would have to see food waste move up the agenda if we were to see plants six and seven. If we were to see any new plants built they would need to be carefully considered and be strategically located in the correct areas.

“Local authorities can do a lot more with food waste. The gate fee is way, way below that of landfill and land costs, and it would be a good move for councils to get into food waste on a cost basis alone.”

Madden also hit out at proposals to remove pre-accreditation agreements for Feed-in-Tariffs (FiTs) under new cost control measures announced by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The measures could affect investment in the AD sector.

Madden said: “It’s a very negative move for the sector: without pre-accreditation you remove a fundamental building block for raising investment for new plants. At the moment we can’t see how the sector will look after this plays out. We do not know the outcome of the subsidy when you get the plant on the ground in the future.”

In July, DECC said it was consulting on the change among measures “to limit the risk to bill payers of a deployment surge under the FiT [scheme] through the removal of pre-accreditation”.

Madden’s comments come as the firm negotiated a £96m funding deal which will cut borrowing costs and allow the completion of the two AD plants in the coming year. The funding deal has allowed private equity partner Alcuin Capital Partners to exit the business.

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