Imminent PAS110 certification for UK AD plant ‘positive for sector’
15 December 2010
The imminent approval of the first UK AD plant under the PAS110 scheme will be a positive move for the AD sector, with classification of digestate as a product rather than a waste opening up improved financial opportunities to the sector
Following news that PAS110 had received EC approval comes the imminent certification of the first UK facility under the scheme. While not yet announced, industry sources indicate the certification is likely to come through in January/February 2011 and will prove a positive move for the AD sector.
Prior to the AD Quality Protocol and PAS 110, in order to be able to spread digestate dervived from waste to land, the landowner either required an exemption or an environmental permit. For this reason, regulation of digestate has been seen as a barrier to the uptake of AD technology. Once an AD facility achieves PAS110 certification and meets the other requirements of the AD Quality Protocol, the digestate it produces can be treated as a product (rather than a waste), improving the financial viability of the facility.
“Equally important, unless digestate is classed as a product then it is not classified as ‘recycling’ and does not contribute to Local Authority targets,” said Esther Kiddle, a solicitor in Burges Salmon's Environmental Projects team. “As the bar has been raised on recycling targets in Wales and Scotland, and undoubtedly will be raised in England as part of the Waste Policy Review, the opportunities for AD facilities are expected to increase".
“The Environment Agency is phasing out exemptions for the spreading of digestate to land, so in the future all AD plants will require either a permit or compliance with the AD Quality Protocol, including PAS110. Certification of the first UK facility under PAS110 can only be a positive step for the AD sector,” said Ms Kiddle.
The process for PAS110 certification was set out in a recent CIWM seminar on AD held by Burges Salmon. Notes from this seminar can be viewed here.