News
16th Jul

2013

Media Release 11 – Is Anaerobic Digestion Creating More Problems Than It Solves

The Tenant Farmers Association has sounded an alarm bell over the rapid expansion in the number of anaerobic digestion (AD) plants using agricultural crops as feedstocks.

Whilst the TFA does not actively campaign in the arena of renewable energy policy, it understands the need to develop renewable energy technologies which will assist in the process of ensuring the long-term energy security of the nation. However, such development must take into account wider impacts locally, regionally and nationally to ensure that whatever benefits are obtained are not outweighed by the costs created.

TFA National Vice Chairman Stephen Wyrill said “It is a major concern that a significant number of existing and proposed AD plants have identified maize and/or grass silage as appropriate feedstocks. Whilst the TFA understands the rationale for using slurry combined with other waste products such as green waste and food waste, it does not see the justification for using land specifically to grow crops as feedstocks for AD plants. Not only does this appear to undermine the perceived carbon reduction benefits of AD, it also adds significantly to the burden on the agricultural industry given the strong competition that already exists for access to agricultural land”.

“In areas with significant AD capacity we have seen land rents reach unsustainable levels as competition for land to grow maize for AD plants has intensified. Farmers looking for land to grow feed for livestock are left having either to look further afield at significantly higher cost, or go without access to sufficient ground for their production needs causing them to have to buy in feed again at very high prices,” said Mr Wyrill.

“The TFA is also concerned over the concentration of AD plants created in a relatively small areas. The West Midlands is a case in point. The concentration of AD plants in that area is reaching untenable levels particularly where those plants are reliant upon growing crops as feedstocks. It is essential when considering applications for new AD plants to take into consideration the extent to which an area is already serviced by AD plants which will be competing for feedstocks in the local area amongst themselves already,” said Mr Wyrill

Ref: MR11  |  Date: 15 July 2013

 Notes for Editors:

For further information contact Stephen Wyrill on 07754 582600 or the TFA’s Communications and Events Coordinator Julie Sheehan on 0118 930 6130.

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