Digestate spreading banned due to foul smells
from Farmers banned over digestate smells, 22 May 2014
The Poplars site at Cannock has had well-documented odour issues – but protests about a ‘stink’ received from neighbours late last year were after farmers started using digestate from the plant. The local paper reports that the environmental health department stepped in and banned farmers from spreading the digestate, produced by the anaerobic digestion process, as fertiliser on fields due to the foul smell.
There have been seven ‘catastrophic’ failures of anaerobic digestion (AD) plants from March to November 2013, two of which were of an ‘explosive nature’, the Environment Agency reported
from EA point to catastrophic failures in AD plants, 14 May 2014
When the House of Lords looked into the economics of ‘biowaste’ in December the executive director of environment and business at the Environment Agency, Ed Mitchell, reported that regulation surrounding AD should be based on risk rather than maximum value for stakeholders given the track record of biogas technology.
There is sometimes out there a polarisation that does not take into account the benefits that regulation provides. It is incumbent on people to deliver the objectives they are given by the regulator. Nobody built plants expecting them to fail, but our experience of course is that all these plants are not perfect and the regulation is important. To give an example, we have had seven catastrophic failures of anaerobic digestion plants in the last nine months, two of which were explosive in nature where the gas built up and the lids popped off or the walls blew out.
So when there is a debate about the right amount of regulation it absolutely has to be based on risk.
Chaired by Lord Krebs, the committee was set up to investigate how Government incentives can be designed to make the most of the bio economy, and get the most value from biogas projects.
On our doorstep? – we hope not.