An Environment Agency decision to cut red tape and make it easier for farmers to use rejected fruit and vegetables and crop by-products in energy-generating anaerobic digestion plants has been described as a victory for common sense by landowners in the Midlands.
Previously, leaves, roots and bruised, misshapen or undersized vegetables were classified as waste - meaning operators had to apply for expensive environmental permits and implement burdensome handling control regulations before they could use them in AD plants.
CLA Midlands rural adviser Donna Tavernor explained that the CLA had argued for new guidance which differentiated between by-products and waste. The Association wrote to Environment Secretary Liz Truss last month to explain why AD operators should be free to use crop residues and vegetable out-grades without the need for costly permits.
Miss Tavernor said: “The decision makes complete sense and removes an unnecessary piece of red tape that will allow more of these materials to be used to produce clean energy.
“Furthermore, the residue of the AD process is nutrient-rich and can be used as a viable alternative to synthetic fertiliser, so the benefits are far reaching.”
The Environment Agency’s briefing note on ‘Crop residues used as feedstocks in anaerobic digestion plants' was published on 10 September 2014.