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Agriculture: Biofuels

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 29 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to encourage the use of anaerobic digestion of farm waste to create biogas for energy production. (127541)

The Government are committed to making the most of the potential of anaerobic digestion to contribute to a number of our key objectives, notably, reducing greenhouse emissions from waste management and agriculture and improving air and water quality, as well as providing a source of renewable energy.

The UK Biomass Strategy and the national Waste Strategy, both of which will be published later this spring, will set out the important contribution which anaerobic digestion can make to achieving these objectives.

In order to encourage the greater uptake of anaerobic digestion, I am pleased that the Environment Agency has agreed to develop a standard for digestate in 2007-08. This will allow modern regulatory principles to be applied to the use of this material and bring certainty to when this material is considered to be “fully recovered”. This should help to facilitate the development of markets for digestate.