ADBA Party Conference Roundup

At the time of writing, Charlotte Morton and I have just returned from attending the main political party conferences. The gatherings are a chance for party members to catch up, Ministers to preen themselves on the main stage and most importantly, for policy debates to happen both in and out of the main hall.

Labour conference had a celebratory air about it, as MPs, many of whom were convinced they would lose their seats in June, toasted a better than expected result that has left Jeremy Corbyn secure in his job for the foreseeable future. During a busy few days, ADBA co-sponsored an evening reception in partnership with SERA and the Sustainability Hub that was attended by Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey.  Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment Sue Hayman MP gave a keynote speech at the SERA Rally, pointing to the huge amount of work needed over the coming months to ensure that the significant mass of EU law relating to agriculture and the environment is properly debated and considered by Parliament.

I represented ADBA at Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, attending a breakfast meeting where Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Gove MP spoke about the importance of soil productivity and conservation as we look to help farmers improve their output post-Brexit. With the role that digestate can play in soil health, this is an angle that ADBA will be following up with the Secretary of State in the weeks to come. Mr. Gove also confirmed that the forthcoming Clean Growth Plan will be published on October 12th while the long-delayed 25 Year Plan for Nature should be out before Christmas. In his main speech to the conference Gove also announced a consultation on a plastic bottle return-and-recycle scheme, a positive step that demonstrates the Government’s increasing interest in recycling issues more widely and echoes some of the language we are hearing in our meetings with MPs, advisers and civil servants.

However, these positive announcements were overshadowed by the Prime Minister’s keynote speech to the main hall where an extraordinary run of bad luck involving a comedian infiltrator, a throat infection and some failing magnets saw her performance overshadow the policies she was keen to promote. With the eventful speech leading to a newly febrile atmosphere in Westminster, we will be following these developments closely as Parliament reconvenes for the autumn session. It promises to be a busy few weeks and do get in touch on if you'd like to discuss these developments further. 

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Tags: anaerobic digestion, food waste operators, food waste, digestate, politics, conference, Parliament