Anaerobic Digestion Facilities

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 25th March 2010.

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Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne Opposition Whip (Commons) 10:30 am, 25th March 2010

How many anaerobic digestion facilities for the disposal of fallen stock have been opened in each of the last three years.

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Photo of Dan Norris Dan Norris Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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 means of disposal.

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Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne Opposition Whip (Commons)

I thank the Minister for that reply. Last July, the Government set up an anaerobic digestion task group which, in conjunction with the Renewable Energy Association, recommended feed-in tariffs to encourage the use of anaerobic digestion for biogas electricity production. Those recommendations have been completely ignored by the Government. Instead of four bands, they have proposed two bands at a lower level. This will not provide sufficient encouragement-

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Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne Opposition Whip (Commons)

My question to the Minister is: how will this reduced feed-in tariff lead to the development of 1,000 anaerobic digestion plants on farms as the Government are hoping?

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Photo of Dan Norris Dan Norris Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

This is a new feed-in tariff, but capital allowances will deal with the problem that the hon. Gentleman raises. May I take this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to announce that today our implementation plan for anaerobic digestion will be published? The plan sets out how we will work with partners in the public and private sector to accelerate the uptake of anaerobic digestion in England. This will include things such as feed-in tariffs, anaerobic digestion programmes and other such elements.

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