The UK’s anaerobic digestion trade body has said the Environment Agency’s proposals to increase charges and fees for operators are “unjustified”.
The Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) said significant increases in the majority of charges associated with environmental permits and applications will have financial implications for the bulk of both new and existing AD operators.
It is thought these increases will double existing costs in a number of cases.
For example, an annual fee of £11,019 will be charged to run an AD facility using more than 100 tonnes of feedstock a year and a permit for an on-farm unit using only farm waste will cost £2,641.
The changes are due to be implemented from April 2018.
Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of ADBA, said: “Whilst ADBA supports the need for a well-resourced, effective regulator, the proposed increases in the Strategic Review of Charges are extremely steep and their implementation date of April 2018 will be very challenging for AD operators to meet.
“Should the proposals lead to reduced enthusiasm in investing in the industry or limit operators’ ability to invest in their operations, this could be detrimental to the environment and to AD’s ability to meet vital policy goals.”
The Environment Agency said the changes would make the fee system much more clear and simple. A spokesperson added: “Our current system is complicated and done in a different way for different regimes; the new one will be the same basis for everyone.”