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Volume 621: debated on Monday 29 January 2001

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What steps are being taken to encourage the use of methane, rather than allowing or accepting unnecessary release of this gas into the atmosphere. [HL391]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
(Lord Whitty)

The UK's climate change programme that was published in November 2000 sets out full details of the measures the Government are taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including methane emissions. Many of these measures are aimed at preventing emissions; others are designed to collect and use it as an energy source.Methane emissions from landfills have been reduced by almost 40 per cent since 1990. Measures like the Landfill Directive and the landfill tax are aimed at cutting the amount of biodegradable waste sent to landfill. There has also been increased collection of landfill gas and its use as an energy source. Since 1990, over 140 landfill gas projects have been contracted under the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation to supply electricity to the National Grid. The Government are continuing their support for the use of landfill gas, and also sewage gas, as energy sources through the Renewables Obligation and exemptions from the climate change levy. Methane emissions from landfill sites are projected to continue to decline to about 70 per cent below 1990 levels in 2010.About one third of methane emissions from operational coal mines is currently captured and a third of this is used for energy recovery. This proportion is however expected to increase over the coming decade. The Government are working with industry to encourage and develop further use of methane from this source.