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Raising awareness of anaerobic digestion in the UK - Views of key stakeholdersMeeting rising energy demand and sustainable development goals at the same time is a major challenge for policy makers in the 21st century. The situation is further stressed by a rising world population, climate change, natural disasters and food security concerns. Renewable energy technologies such as anaerobic digestion (AD) proffer one solution for policy makers to overcome some of the challenges to sustainable development. The technology has been widely adopted in some parts of Europe (e.g. Germany, Denmark, Austria and Sweden), the United States and also parts of Asia and Africa. However in the United Kingdom (UK), the technology is under-developed, as was recognised in its anaerobic digestion strategy and action plan of 2011. This study focused on identifying options for raising awareness of AD technology in the UK. 21 key stakeholders divided into groups according to their expertise, were interviewed to explore their views on the areas of focus in the UK strategy and action plan regarding raising awareness of the technology. The results revealed that aligning AD with sustainable development goals, community AD and localism, small AD plants, provision of an available market for AD products, building UK skills and diversifying biogas use from AD are positive options for raising awareness of AD in the UK. Challenges to these options and possible solutions to the challenges were also identified and discussed.
The role of anaerobic digestion in achieving soil conservation and sustainable agricultural development in the UK.Anaerobic digestion represents one form of renewable energy technology but has many wider benefits. This paper reviews the processes involved in anaerobic digestion, the type of systems in place and the use of digestate to improve soil quality. A case is made for the technology in the UK in the context of soil conservation and sustainable agricultural production. Its broader contribution to sustainable development in the United Kingdom is also considered. Low levels of awareness of the benefits of anaerobic digestion, poor access to funds, inadequate incentives, an unfavourable legislative and policy framework for the technology, limited application of digestate for agricultural purposes and the need for further research on digestate use are identified as key factors hindering uptake of the technology. Anaerobic digestion is presented as a technology that can support soil conservation and sustainable agricultural development while also generating both energy and income, enhancing waste and nutrient recycling and promoting environmental protection.