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Waste management measures to help hit carbon budget

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 316,000 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.”

by S. C.
28 april 2009, Food & Fun > Nature