Anaerobic digestion will be an established technology in England by 2020 providing energy for two million homes from food waste, said Environment Minister Jane Kennedy.
Speaking at the National Farmers Union conference in Birmingham (17 February) Kennedy launched her vision for anaerobic digestion to make a significant contribution to climate change targets. The Government has also launched a document called Anaerobic Digestion shared goals, which sets out shared ambitions for Government, businesses, regulators and other stakeholders.
Kennedy said: Were producing more organic waste in this country than we can handle, over 12 million tonnes of food waste a year and farmers know too well the challenges of managing manure and slurry.
There are alternatives to sending organic waste to landfill. Anaerobic digestion is a true solution. This material could produce enough heat and power to run more than two million homes helping to prevent dangerous climate change by providing a renewable energy source as well as reducing our reliance on landfill.
Farmers, I know, share this vision of making the UK world leaders in this innovative technology and I applaud their aim for 1,000 on-farm AD plants by 2020 to power their operations, as well as using the leftovers as bio-fertiliser.
Farms produce 90 million tonnes of waste, including manure and slurry, while a further 12 to 20 million tonnes of wasted food and food scraps go to landfill after being thrown away by households, businesses and restaurants.
Under the Climate Change Act the UK has to reduce its CO2 emissions by at least 26% by 2020. The Government believes that AD will play an important part in achieving this. The Shared Goals document also states that retailers, the food and drink industry and local authorities will consider where AD can contribute to achieving their waste management, recycling and low carbon emission goals. The document also states that the waste management sector will continue to work with its clients to provide additional cost-effective, regulated and safe AD processing for appropriate waste streams.
Kennedy will convene a task group to lead development and delivery of an implementation plan. This will be chaired by the Charted Institution for Wastes Management chief executive Steve Lee. Members will be drawn from a broad range of sectors. The implementation plan will set out the practical measures that Government and stakeholders will take individually and collectively to achieve these shared goals.