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by Mandy Stoker (E4 Environment/Bioenergy Insight) ... The agricultural industry is becoming increasingly mechanised and technical, yet is seems public perceptions lag behind, preferring not to view farms as centres of production, algorithms, and computer-driven combine harvesters. Whilst providing the perfect market for innovative renewable energy solutions such as AD, agricultural life is not generally perceived as cutting edge. So, when the media picks up on a handful of cases where plant has malfunctioned, it is all too easy to play on the theme of a threat to the rural idyll.
It seems the solution to this poor communication over AD is to kick-start a support campaign that sets out to educate the general public on the virtues of renewable energy. As part of this PR facelift, farmers should be giving testimonials, students should be visiting these sites on school trips (what a lesson in biology!) and local news should be covering the benefits of AD instead of focusing on controversy. There is a perceived disconnection between “industry” and “countryside”, which needs to be broken down for the sake of introducing renewable technologies. If it is that easy to create a news story from a single occurrence of an AD plant malfunctioning, bodies such as Anaerobic Digestion Bioresource Association (ADBA) should be able to drown out hyperbolic negativity with stories of triumph. READ MORE