The CLA has warned that proposed changes to support for anaerobic digestion (AD) could spell the end of future on-farm biogas development, being a lost opportunity for rural businesses.
The organisation, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses said the proposals to reduce the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) support for investment in AD were potentially bad news for farmers seeking to diversify and find environmentally friendly ways to manage farm waste.
The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) consultation to review FiT support proposes three main changes from January 2017:
• closing FiT support for any new AD plant over 500kW,
• reducing the level of FiT support for new AD plants under 500kW by nearly a third, and
• restricting the use of crop feedstocks in new AD plants claiming FiT in future either via an outright ban or limiting the proportion that can be used.
CLA President Ross Murray said: “On-farm AD can deliver multiple environmental benefits as well as new sources of income to the agricultural sector and much-needed clean, base load electricity. These proposals could spell the end of any future biogas development on farms and be a lost opportunity for rural businesses.
“As Government continues to cut existing support for renewable energy there is a challenge over how they will promote growth in clean energy generation to meet important environmental targets.”