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Government told to ‘grasp nettle’ and tell LAs to invest in AD

Following confirmation today of the £10m Anaerobic Digestion Loan Fund (ADLF), the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) has said the Government must do more to encourage AD in the UK.

Defra minister Lord Henley Henley confirmed news of the ADLF at the ADBA annual conference held at the Birmingham NEC. He said: “The Loan Fund builds on the Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan to develop a strong and vibrant AD industry. It will help to reduce the amount of food sent to landfill and give more businesses the opportunity to use AD to produce their own power and electricity.”

In response, the ADBA urged the Government to “grasp the nettle” by stating that organic waste feedstock should be source segregated and prioritised for AD. It welcomed confirmation of the ADLF but said that it was only a “small part” of the investment needed and that the Government could encourage further private investment into the market by directing local authorities.  

ADBA chief executive, Charlotte Morton, said at its trade show held at Birmingham’s NEC: “Meeting the UK’s 2020 commitments on landfill diversion and renewable energy require high investment in new capacity over the next few years.

“That simply isn’t happening while investors are being put off by mixed messages from Government, and while they remain unwilling to direct local authorities to take a course they have already said realises the most benefit.

“The Government needs to build on this announcement by grasping the nettle to encourage wider private finance into the market. This doesn’t require more money from the taxpayer – simply clear statements that organic waste feedstock should be source segregated and prioritised for AD.”

ADLF aims to divert 300,000 tonnes of food waste from landfill by 2015 and will be used to generate energy and has the potential to save 174,000 tonnesof CO2 equivalent. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) will oversee the fund, which will lend amounts ranging from £50,000 to £1m to help AD projects attract private investment.

Wrap director of the closed loop economy Marcus Gover said: “Across the UK, there are now AD facilities capable of managing 656,500 tonnes of organic waste each year, diverting waste from landfill, generating renewable energy and creating green jobs. The 300,000 tonnes of extra capacity we expect this fund will create will bring the UK’s AD processing capacity close to 1 million tonnes per year.

“AD is a reliable, safe and profitable resource efficiency process supported by Government, industry, local authorities and communities.”

The fund is open for AD projects that are finding it difficult to receive asset finance and can be borrowed for industrial units, plant and machinery and groundworks. The first round of applications is now open and will run until 31 October. To find out more about the loan click here. To find out if your company is eligible click here.

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