Make digesters a priorty says climate report

Anaerobic digester
Anaerobic digester
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

A national strategy on anaerobic digestion should be developed as a priority, a new report has recommended.

The draft report from the Joint Committee on Climate Action also states that low-interest loans or grants need to be provided to cover the high costs of installing anaerobic digesters, which convert slurry into heat and energy.

The report, due to go to Government shortly, says the Department of Agriculture should implement mitigation practices as recommended by Teagasc, with a focus on those with the greatest Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction potential.

While the Citizens' Assembly recommended a tax on GHG emissions from agriculture, the latest draft report does not include this in its main recommendations.

It also calls on the Department of Agriculture to bring forward a draft of the new state forestry programme no later than 2020.

The draft report calls for a comprehensive review of the climate mitigation potential of the country's forests, with a reformed forestry policy to address the disparity between broadleaf and conifer plantations.

It says there are problems with the planting, management and clear-felling of spruce plantations, including impacts on biodiversity and water quality, along with growing public opposition to forestry in regions where there have been high planting rates.

Other recommendations include: the setting up of a Climate Action Council in conjunction with other relevant bodies.

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The completion of a review of national land use by spring of 2020 building on the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) review and other relevant analysis on land use.

County-based hedgerow surveys should be extended nationwide by local authorities. Once completed, by 2020, the Government should commission a study to quantify the climate mitigation and adaptation functions of this resource by 2021.

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