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Agriculture: Waste Disposal

Volume 503: debated on Wednesday 13 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will commission research into the (a) environmental and (b) economic merits of anaerobic digestion as a means of disposing of fallen stock; and if he will make a statement. (309994)

Disposal of fallen stock by means of anaerobic digestion is not permitted under the EU Animal By-products Regulation 1774/2002. This is because of the animal and public health risk associated with such disposal. There is therefore no point at this stage in carrying out such an environmental or economic assessment. However, we are aware that there is ongoing research into the possibility of using anaerobic digestions as a pre-treatment and method of temporary storage of fallen stock prior to disposal by rendering or incineration. The regulation has a provision to approve such new methods of disposal subject to evidence from research that it does not present a risk to animal and public health.