Tougher targets are needed to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste sent to landfill, a former Liberal Democrat environment spokeswoman has told a House of Lords debate.
Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer last week urged ministers to adopt a tougher stance or face losing ground to other European Union members.
Under the EU Landfill Directive, the UK must reduce the amount of waste it sends to landfill to 75% of that produced in 1995 by 2010, then to 50% by 2013 and 35% by 2020. The Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme aims to ensure England meets its part of these targets.
But Baroness Miller said: “Other countries in the European Union have now set a final date, in many cases of 2015, for ending the dumping of biodegradable waste in landfill sites. Is the UK going to reconsider this?
“There are so many useful ways to utilise waste food. Separation technologies have progressed a long way, so it is no longer only a question of anaerobic digestion processes.
“However, anaerobic digestion allows the heat generated to be used and the resultant fertiliser to be used on farmland.”
She praised the Environment Agency and WRAP for producing a quality marking for the fertiliser produced by AD.
“Farmers can now be sure that they are using a quality product and do not have to worry about it,” she said.
Opposition peers used the green agenda debate to vent their frustrations at ministers, who they said were failing to deliver on a pledge to be the greenest government ever.
Baroness Smith of Basildon (Lab/Co Op) cited a raft of green organisations including Friends of the Earth, the RSPB and Wildlife and Countryside Link, which have been critical of the government not living up to its green rhetoric.
She added: “Perhaps most worrying for the government is the response from the CBI, which has accused the government of failing to provide the leadership that business needs for green growth.
“Those changing decisions on feed-in tariffs, the green investment bank and zero carbon homes make business and investors cynical and somewhat nervous about the government’s intentions and commitments.”
She also raised concerns about the Green Investment Bank. “Let us be clear. We want the Green Investment Bank to succeed, but there is a lot more to be done before that is the case,” she said.