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Budget-Building a low carbon economy - Waste management measures to help hit carbon budget


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Issued  22 APRIL 2009

The Secretary of State for Environment Hilary Benn today welcomed the measures in the 2009 Budget which encourage investment in low carbon jobs and energy generation using organic waste.

The Chancellor announced additional funding of 10 million for anaerobic digestion and waste infrastructure and a continued increase of 8 per tonne per year to the standard rate of landfill tax up to 2013. These measures will encourage investment in sustainable waste management and will enable over 850,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent savings to be made each year, which will help towards achieving the Government's carbon budget.

Following the Budget statement Hilary Benn said:

"The Government is committed to reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill and finding alternative sources of energy. The 10 million for food waste reprocessing will play a vital role in providing alternative energy, diverting a further 300,000 tonnes of food waste from landfill and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"In the UK we produce over 100 million tonnes of organic material every year that, through anaerobic digestion, could be used to create enough energy to heat and power over two million homes.

"And it's not only the environment that will benefit. Increasing our anaerobic digestion capability will also stimulate a greener economy by creating skilled jobs in construction, collection and reprocessing of organic waste."

Anaerobic digestion is the process of breaking down organic material such as food waste and farm manures and slurries to create heat and power and transport fuel.

In February Defra announced the UK's goal to become a world leader in this innovative technology. Businesses ranging from the energy sector, water, retail and agriculture support this goal and a task group is working on a programme to implement the plans of Government and industry. The 10 million funding package announced in the budget today is in addition to the 10 million already earmarked in 2008 to build demonstration plants. From April 1 2009 Government has doubled the level of support for anaerobic digestion through the Renewable Obligation.

An increase in the UK's anaerobic digestion capability will also help to deliver landfill targets. This was bolstered in the Budget that will continue the increase in Landfill Tax in increments of eight pounds a year up to 2013.

Mr Benn continued:

"The Landfill Tax has really helped to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and encouraging businesses and local authorities to move towards a more sustainable approach to handling waste. In the last year alone efforts by local authorities have reduced their landfill from 18 million tonnes in 2006 to 15 tonnes in 2008, and by encouraging greater recycling, carbon emissions have fallen by 11 million tonnes- the same as taking 3.6 million cars off the road overnight."


1. 'Anaerobic Digestion - Shared Goals' sets shared national ambitions for anaerobic digestion, both nationally and within individual sectors. The document and the list of organisations which have endorsed it so far are available at:

2. Anaerobic digestion breaks down organic matter, such as animal manure and food waste, to produce biogas which can be used as a renewable energy source for heat and power, and as a transport fuel. It produces a nutrient-rich digestate which can be used as fertiliser, and importantly it keeps organic waste out of landfill, which cuts greenhouse gas emissions.

3. Electricity from anaerobic digestion is eligible for support in the form of ROCs (Renewable Obligation Certificates). On 1 April 2009, the Government introduced differentiated support levels for different renewables technologies (known as "banding"). Anaerobic digestion is among the technologies that receive additional support in the form of multiple ROCs. Anaerobic digestion now receives 2 ROCs/MWh (Renewable Obligation Certificates per Megawatt hour).

4. In-Vessel Composting (IVC) is a process that breaks down organic matter to produce a compost while contained in a closed environment. Food Waste is subject to the Animal By-Products Regulations that require composting to take place in closed containers or buildings with no access by vermin, and meet stringent requirements for temperature and pasteurisation to kill disease causing organisms. All food waste must be processed by IVC or AD facilities.

5. Landfill targets set by the European Union are:

* By 2010 to reduce the amount of Biodegradable Municipal Waste (BMW) going to landfill to 75% of that produced in 1995.
* By 2013 to reduce the amount of BMW going to landfill to 50% of that produced in 1995.
* By 2020 to reduce the amount of BMW going to landfill to 35% of that produced in 1995.

6. The 10 million additional funding for anaerobic digestion projects is expected to deliver around 178,500 tonnes per year in CO2 savings.

7. Increases in Landfill Tax up to 2013 are expected to deliver around 700,000 tonnes per year in CO2 savings.

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Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BERR- Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform replacing DTI - Department for Trade and Industry. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-04-23 12:13:26 in Economic Articles

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