4th Januar 2010
NABU in Lower Saxony demands a moratorium on the construction of biogas digester. Future new plants should only be permitted within a regional planning directive, provided that a 112-month capacity for storing biogas residues.
"We must draw a line in Lower Sacony because there isn't a second Lower Saxony around. The conversion of our countryside to maize for animal feed and for biogas digesters is accelerating fast", states bioenergy expert Uwe Baumert from NABU Lower Saxony. The multi-purpose biogas, wich can provide electricity, heat, transport and storage, needs to be used sensisble.
In some regions in Lower Saxony, maize already covers over 50% of arable land, no end is in sight and earth worms are also being decimated. "The earthworm's productivity is more important for the future of our society than the profits of the biggest banks", states the NABU expert and explains the reasons: "Earthworms avoid naize because food from decomposing organic matter is lacking on maize monocultures. This endangers soil fertility in many regions."
Application of biogas residues as fertiliser during months with little plant growth further worsens the situation. A 12-months storage capacity, instead of the current six-month one, needs to become obligatory. This would allow the valuable fertiliser to be applied at the time plants require it, as bioenergy expert Uwe Baumert stresses.
NABU expert Baumert continues: "Time for reflection is needed. Both public acceptance of bioenergy and our soils are at risk, and with soils the foundation for our agriculture, food and society. Finances are available through EU funding and changes in the agro-investment programme." Furthermore, Baumert promoted that fundamental NABU demand: "Bioenergy and biogas plants have to remain a small communal sector in the region and for the region. One has to speak to local people, involve them and develop joint models."
[Note: My translation of an article here: http://niedersachsen.nabu.de/oekologischleben/energieundklima/biomasse/11867.html . NABU is the German member of BirdLife International.]