Sunday, April 29, 2012

Round Up of UK Government Actions in March-April 2012: AD Planning Requirement Relaxed, Feed-in Tariff Scheme Rates Increased, Bioenergy Strategy Published

With the announcement of economic figures last week, which show that the UK has slipped back into recession, many are asking what the coalition government is doing to stimulate the economy at a time when clearly everything conceivably possible which might boost business, and benefit the nation, should be being done by them.

Thankfully, the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas industry, is being recognised as one such case, and there have been some really positive moves forward by the UK government in the form of the announcements which we have listed below:

Rural Planning Requirement Relaxed for Small-scale Anaerobic Digestion

A number of renewable energy technologies including anaerobic digestion have received a boost following revisions to the English Town and Country Planning Order.

From April 2012 small-scale energy installations in England built on agricultural or forestry land will be exempt from planning permission under amendments to the Order.

The amendment means that planning permission will no longer be required for farmers and landowners who install anaerobic digesters or any associated storage buildings with a ground area of less than 465 square metres on farming or non-domestic land.

The changes could result in a significant boost to the rural economy by removing legislative red tape, reducing energy bills for farmers and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

See the statutory instrument here:

Feed-in Tariff Scheme Rates Increased for Anaerobic Digestion from 2 April 2012

Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) subsidy rates for electricity generated through anaerobic digestion have today been increased in line with the retail price index.

The tariffs are now as follows:

For a digester less than 250kW in size the rate is now 14.7 p/kWh
For a digester between 250 and 500kW in size the rate is 13.7 p/kWh
For a digester between 500kW and 5MW in size the rate is 9.9 p/kWh

For more information visit the Department of Energy and Climate Change FiTs web page

UK Bioenergy Strategy Published

The UK Government published its Bioenergy Strategy on 26April 2012. Bioenergy is expected to play a key role in meeting the UK's 2020 renewable energy target as well as longer term carbon reduction targets to 2030 and 2050. But the Government also recognise that bioenergy is not automatically low carbon, renewable or sustainable: alongside its many positives, bioenergy carries risks.

The UK Bioenergy Strategy, published jointly by DECC, Defra, DfT sets a framework of principles to guide UK bioenergy policy in a way that secures its benefits, while managing these risks. The strategy’s overarching principle is that bioenergy must be produced sustainably and that there is a role for UK Government to steer sustainable development of bioenergy in the UK and as far as possible internationally.

A number of organisations provided supporting evidence for the report including bioeconomy consultants NNFCC, who predict the UK anaerobic digestion industry is likely to have an installed capacity of 320-580 MWth by 2020 and support up to 2,500 jobs with more than half being permanent.

For more information please visit the Department of Energy and Climate Change Bioenergy Strategy web page

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