Government must make more of anaerobic digestion - Juniper


Speaking ahead of the ADBA National Conference [3 Dec] where he will be chairing a session, Tony Juniper*, said:

“A range of cutting edge technologies offer the opportunity to achieve economic and job creation benefits while at the same time meeting environmental goals. Government really needs to wake up to this basic fact and to more proactively go after the great opportunities we have to hand, including anaerobic digestion.

“Anaerobic digestion can not only help to meet our needs in terms of sustainable energy, but also help to support sustainable farming. When integrated with farming businesses anaerobic digestion can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the overall carbon footprint of food production, including through sustainable soil and nutrient management, thus improving our ability to feed a growing population while reducing the need for commercial fertilisers.

“If anaerobic digestion reached its potential, the nutrients from food waste alone would be worth over £200m, and that’s before you’ve taken into account the ‘green’ value of this low-carbon fertiliser. Anaerobic digestion is a closed loop technology, and is therefore a crucial cog in the mechanism of a sustainable society.

“This requires a different policy environment. At present this industry is incentivised only in relation to what it delivers in terms of energy generation. While this is welcome it recognises only one aspect of the benefits the technology brings. More should be done to help realise the benefits it also delivers in supporting climate smart farming.”

More information on the ADBA National Conference, 3 December, Westminster – including the full conference programme – is available here.


*Tony Juniper is an independent sustainability and environment adviser, including as Special Advisor with the Prince’s Charities International Sustainability Unit, Fellow of the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership and as President of Society for the Environment. He began his career as an ornithologist, working with Birdlife International. From 1990 he worked at Friends of the Earth and was the organisation’s executive director from 2003-2008 and Vice Chair of Friends of the Earth International from 2000-2008. Juniper was the first recipient of the Charles and Miriam Rothschild medal (2009) and was awarded honorary Doctor of Science degrees from the Universities of Bristol and Plymouth (2013) further details available at

Tony Juniper, will be giving the keynote address at 09.40 ‘Why we need to move towards a circular economy and AD’s critical role’ and chairing the session entitled ‘Can we afford not to recycle nutrients and organic matter?’ between 11.30 and 13.00 at the ADBA National Conference 3 December, One Great George Street.

He will be joined on the panel by:

  • Rembrandt Koppelaar, Imperial College London
  • Patrick Holden, Sustainable Food Trust
  • Michael Chesshire, Evergreen Gas
  • Dr Alan Knight, Business in the Community

Press registration: Please email Rosaline Hulse with your full name, organisation and job title and any dietary requirements.

Posted in: ADBA News, ADBA Press Release, Industry News, Members' press release, News for Members, Policy updates, R&D Updates

Tags: Circular Economy, National Conference, nutrient recycling, Tony Juniper