Recognising excellence in anaerobic digestion

Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA), outlines the benefits of the Anaerobic Digestion Certification Scheme for AD plant operators, regulators, funders, and the wider public.

In December 2017, ADBA was delighted to officially launch the Anaerobic Digestion Certification Scheme (ADCS), a voluntary certification scheme created specifically for anaerobic digestion (AD) plants. It is the only scheme in the UK that encompasses operational performance, health and safety, and environmental protection in a one-stop audit process for AD operators.

The development of an industry certification scheme in collaboration with stakeholders had been a long-standing goal of ADBA’s.

While many AD plants operate to a high standard, there have been some high-profile environmental incidents and health and safety issues which, as well as having negative consequences for those directly involved, have damaged the reputation of the industry as a whole and made it harder for policymakers and funders to support AD.

The core aims of the ADCS are therefore to help operators improve their performance and minimise risk. The scheme provides applicants with a full, independent audit of their site and management systems, including recommendations and guidance for making improvements.

The audit process encourages operators to evaluate themselves against industry-defined good practice, allowing them to identify any gaps or areas for improvement. Operators who are successful and certified under the scheme are then required to have an annual review to ensure ongoing compliance with the scheme.

Participating in the scheme is a great way for operators to demonstrate commitment to achieving high standards to their regulators, neighbours, employees, and funders, facilitating positive relationships with these stakeholders.

Certified plants also have access to an exclusive insurance product developed by Jelf Insurance Brokers, which is underwritten by two leading insurers and provides favourable terms, including a 10% rebate on insurance premiums to reflect the lower risk.

We are delighted to have seen the first Northern Irish and English plants certified under the scheme this year, and with such huge opportunities for upgrading and improving the 640 existing UK AD plants, we hope to see many more plants certified over the coming years.

In the meantime, ADBA is continuing to work with operators and others to support the AD industry to be a mature and thriving sector that delivers consistently excellent projects.

You can find full details of the scheme here, and follow us on twitter @adcertscheme.