Digestate, the nutrient-rich bio-fertiliser produced as part of the anaerobic digestion process, could be an alternative to commercial fertilisers in contaminated land projects.

Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) said today (February) trials in England and Scotland are already showing the benefits on polluted land.

Two field trials in Yorkshire, run by the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) and one in Cornwall, carried out by Nexus Sustainability, looking at soil function and physical structure and will report later this year.

Further WRAP trials are also underway in Scotland, this time examining the use of anaerobic digestate in the establishment of newly planted trees and energy crops.

According to the trials the method, which is much cheaper than many currently on the market, could benefit smaller independent firms and large environmental regeneration projects.

WRAP’s programme manager for landscape and regeneration, Paul Mathers, said: “We have seen significant improvement in how vegetation establishes itself in brownfield restoration and sport turfs through the use of BSI PAS 100 compost.

“I am confident that anaerobic digestate offers similar environmental and economic benefits.

“If successful, the results will have far reaching implications for a wide range of regeneration programmes and sports turf applications.

“The use of anaerobic digestate could open new markets on a national scale.”

Luke Walsh

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