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Defra seeks views on introducing RDF standard

Defra has issued a call for evidence on the refuse derived fuel (RDF) market in England to determine whether it should introduce a common standard.

There is no formal definition or standard for RDF either in EU legislation or in domestic legislation, according to Defra.

This means there is no clear definition of when mixed waste becomes RDF.

However, the Government is seeking views on whether the sector might face additional financial burdens after the introduction of a standard.

It welcomed evidence on other possible options for intervention.

Overall, the department wants to gain a better understanding of the RDF system for both domestic use and export.

A Defra report in 2011 recognised the importance of RDF, but it stressed that there needs to be an emphasis on “getting the most energy out of the residual waste, rather than to get the most waste into energy recovery”.

On another note, Defra also expressed concern that exporting RDF was not the best environmental solution in terms of the waste hierarchy. Exports were also seen as not contributing to the UK’s energy security and self-sufficiency.

A key question put to the industry was: “Do you have any experience of the export of RDF affecting availability of RDF on the domestic market?”

Consultation responses are due by 9 May.

  • Exports of RDF have increased from virtually nil before 2010 and 13,258 tonnes in 2010 to 963,944 tonnes in 2012. The provisional figure for exports of RDF in 2013 is 1,586,946 tonnes. One of the main drivers for this trend is landfill tax, said Defra.

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