The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) has challenged as misleading a Mail on Sunday article that criticised the industry.
An article by David Rose published on 1 January says that anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities rely increasingly on specially grown feedstock because they cannot source enough food and farm waste.
Rose says the industry gets £216m a year in taxpayer-funded subsidies in his piece entitled ’The great green guzzler con’, and gives examples of sites that have caused pollution due to spillages.
ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton has written an open letter to the paper’s editor.
It reads: “David Rose’s article […] is misleading in its representation of AD. AD plants are indeed eligible for payments through the Renewable Heat Incentive, but provide exceptional value for money both for the public purse and the environment.”
Morton addresses the issue of farmers growing crops specifically for use as AD feedstock and a lack of food waste available.
“ADBA is strongly pushing for separate food waste collections in England so that,, as a nation we reduce and recycle through AD far more of the food waste we generate, of which there is 10 million tonnes still going to landfill or incineration in the UK.
“Energy crops are grown for AD by farmers as valuable break and cover crops in a rotation, but these represent less than 0.5% of the UK’s agricultural land – more land is used for golf courses than for growing crops for AD.”
The waste industry has frequently complained about coverage in national publications, including the Mail, with consultancy Eunomia’s senior consultant Peter Jones often contacting the editor.
In August, Jones made complaints over the Daily Mail and Daily Express’s reporting of contamination in local authority collections.