Councils urged to take the plunge and invest in AD
Local authorities have been targeted by the Anaerobic Digestion & Biogas Association (ADBA) in a forthcoming best practice guide.
Speaking exclusively to edie, ADBA's chairman Lord Redesdale said the guidance - expected later this year - will outline how the long-term benefits of local authority investment in anaerobic digestion (AD) plant outweighs the short-to-medium term procurement costs.
"The one message I would try and get across to local authorities is that waste is a massive cost at the moment but in the future it could be a massive asset," he said.
The Liberal Democrat peer pointed out that AD had the capacity to produce 20% of the UK's domestic gas; the equivalent of 10% of the UK's generating mix.
Lord Redesdale warned local authorities that there were potentially serious consequences if they failed to invest in the fledging AD industry.
He said councils that did not meet the stringent targets set out in the Waste Framework Directive would be fined. With landfill tax on a trajectory to rise year-on-year, he argued that it made sense to invest in AD because local authorities could profit long term.
"Bizarrely, the economic constraints that could have killed the industry will also direct local authorities and government into developing the industry," he said.
"I'm not saying the cuts are a good thing, but when you start understanding that you have no money whatsoever to play around with and you have waste targets to meet people are going to start taking a long hard look."
Lord Redesdale went on to say that local authorities were only "part of the mix" and would have to work with all partners if waste was to become an asset.
"The problem is that you can't get from A to B without the work in between and a lot of people want to do that," he warned.
In a drive to foster investment in the AD industry, ADBA plans to undertake an education campaign targeting local authorities and private waste collectors, which will provide advice on procuring AD plants.
An in-depth interview with Lord Redesdale will appear in LAWR's July Food Waste Supplement as part of edie+