With the planned expansion of anaerobic digestion (AD) plants as one strategy in the UK's Energy Policy, this paper explores the social implications that this is likely to have on local communities.

The rationale of the policy strand is to meet climate change obligations and other environmental concerns by increasing renewable energy in the form of biogas for heat, power or transport fuel; mitigating methane emissions from agriculture; and diverting other kinds of organic waste from incineration or landfill.

Whilst people generally have concerns about climate change and appreciate the environmental benefits of renewable energy, there is a lack of awareness regarding what biogas and AD is that can lead to negative perceptions causing subjective barriers.

Furthermore, a case study of a planning application for a centralized AD plant demonstrates that methods need to be sort to overcome ignorance about such technologies for it to become an acceptable strand of policy, and for it to be accepted by people in communities where AD plants may be planned.