A former environment secretary has insisted described anaerobic digestion (AD) as ‘central to government policies’.

Speaking at the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) national conference today, Lord Deben said the story of AD “needs to be told much more widely”.

The peer, who is currently the chair of the Committee on Climate Change Chair, added: “We’ve had a long period in which AD has not been given the advantages it should have been given.

“AD is not just a mechanism for providing energy, but also makes an important contribution to the health of our soils.”

In a recent foreword for the ADBA’s quarterly member magazine, Lord Deben also described AD as “an essential weapon in the war against climate change”.

The association also used the conference to launch an AD certification scheme, which has been designed to support operators of AD plants to improve their operational, environmental, and health and safety performance.

The scheme includes detailed assessment criteria that will allow third-party certification bodies to verify the achievement of good practice at AD plants, and is the most comprehensive of its type.

“Through our existing work with the AD industry, it is clear that operators, engineers, technology suppliers and developers are constantly seeking ways to optimise their performance,” said association chief executive, Charlotte Morton.

“Through this new scheme, we hope to reflect industry developments, provide information on how plants and suppliers can improve, and help them overcome the key barriers to good performance.”