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Anaerobic digestion: new energy initiative

A joint initiative with the public and private sector for making greater use of anaerobic digestion for bioenergy production has been announced in the UK.

UK Farming Minister Jane Kennedy, speaking at the annual conference of the National Farmers Union in Birmingham in February, announced the initiative for the technology which produces bioenergy from organic material like food waste and manure.

The UK produces over 12 million tonnes of food waste a year, and in addition, there is a challenge for farmers to handle manure and slurry other than sending it to landfill.

According to Kennedy, "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."

The report Anaerobic Digestion – Shared Goals has been drawn up in discussion with a wide cross section of the business community including: agriculture and biogas industries, supermarkets, water and energy companies, the waste and food sectors, Regional Development Agencies, local government, and regulators. It sets out collective ambitions for the use of this technology.

According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Kennedy will convene a task group, to be chaired by Steve Lee, Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), and with members drawn from a broad range of sectors to develop an implementation plan.

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