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Who can help me get certified?

Your main point of contact will be with the Certification Body – currently the only appointed Certification Body is Aardvark Certification Limited. They can discuss the scheme process and ensure you have all the information needed in order to apply.

If you have queries or suggestions about the scheme content, you can contact ADBA.

ADBA members can refer to their Member Directory to find service providers if any advice or work is required.

How long will the process take?

From the receipt of the application and payment to the completion of the audit and provision of an audit report, it is likely to take 6-8 weeks. This will include desk-based review of the application and information provided, a site audit, which should be up to one day on site. These timescales are non-binding and will be influenced by the length of time taken for applicants to provide any information requested.

The time required for operators to prepare for the audit and carry out any actions required will be variable depending on existing management systems, documentation and record-keeping systems.

My plant hasn’t been built yet, how can I get involved?

The audit will need to be undertaken at a site which is constructed and operational, but we encourage those designing and building a new plant to use the scheme criteria and guidance to inform your decision-making. This will give you the best chance of your plant being certified when it is up and running. We also would be delighted to hear that you intend to participate, so you could register your interest in principle with a Certification Body appointed to the scheme. This will mean they can keep in touch with you and make sure you have the latest information about the scheme. Committing to getting certified may allow you to have access to better finance and insurance deals.

My plant is very small, can I still participate?

Absolutely – the scheme is designed to be inclusive to all size of AD plants. As the scheme is in its infancy, it will be useful to receive feedback from micro-AD operators if they feel that the scheme could be better adapted to accommodate them.

We don’t think our plant will meet all the criteria, should I apply?

This depends on the significance of non-conformance. If it is clear that the plant would fail on a number of different aspects and there is little or no commitment within the organisation to address these failings, the benefit of applying to the scheme is very limited. Alternatively, if you have identified a few minor criteria which you will struggle to meet presently but would be willing to rectify these, you may benefit from participating.

In all cases the audit report will identify any recommendations for improvement and will also acknowledge areas of good performance.

Sewage treatment plants are excluded from the scope of the scheme, but what about co-digestion?

At the time of writing, plants undertaking the co-digestion of food waste with sewage sludge are not within the scope of this scheme, due to the difficulties in implementation of co-digestion due to the different regulatory regimes governing biosolids and sewage sludge. This position will be under review and feedback is welcome.

How much will it cost me to participate?

The scheme charges can be found on the website of the Certification Body, Aardvark Certification Limited. There are a number of bands to reflect the size of the plant. The charges range from £1,200* for a plant with an annual throughput up to 15,000 tonnes, to £5,000* for a plant which has a throughput greater than 50,000 tonnes per annum. The scheme should provide benefits (financial and otherwise) to certified operators, which we hope will outweigh the costs.

*Prices exclude VAT

The charges for applying to the scheme and maintaining scheme membership are set out below. They are banded by the size of the AD plant (by annual throughput). The charges go towards the cost of running the scheme (including maintaining scheme documents and undertaking quality assurance processes, stakeholder engagement and promotion), as well as the cost of the audit process itself, which entails a desk-based review, a site visit (up to one day on site) and compilation of the audit report.

Table 1: Application Fees

AD plant annual throughputCharge payable by Scheme Applicant (exc. VAT)
Up to 14,999 tonnes£1,200
From 15,000 to 29,999 tonnes£2,500
From 30,000 to 49,999 tonnes£4,000
From 50,000 tonnes upwards£5,000

Table 2: Annual Renewal Fees (for surveillance audits only – i.e. no site visit is required)

AD plant annual throughputCharge payable by Scheme Applicant (exc. VAT)
Up to 14,999 tonnes£600
From 15,000 to 29,999 tonnes£1,250
From 30,000 to 49,999 tonnes£2,000
From 50,000 tonnes upwards£2,500

Please note: it is advised that prospective applicants contact an appointed Certification Body to discuss the charges. For operators with multiple plants, a discount of 10% will be applicable from the second plant that is put forward to the scheme by that operator.

The Certification Body may offer reduced fees should they be able to offer a combined package of audits with other schemes used by AD operators.

It is also advised that you read the Scheme Rules document which contains further information on the audit process.

These fees may be reviewed periodically, so please check the website for the latest charge or speak with an appointed Certification Body.

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