Waste Plants (Electricity Generation)

Energy and Climate Change – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 16th September 2010.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee 10:30 am, 16th September 2010

What estimate he has made of the proportion of electricity which is generated from energy-to-waste plants; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Charles Hendry Charles Hendry The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

Energy from waste plants can generate electricity from a wide range of different wastes. Overall, these contributed almost 8,600 GWh of electricity in 2009, equating to 2.3% of UK electricity generation.

We strongly support energy generation from waste. We are working with other Government Departments to ensure that, where possible, waste should be seen as a resource, although it remains the responsibility of local authorities and communities to decide on the best waste management arrangements in their areas.

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

I thank the Minister for that reply. What are the implications for local communities of having a cheaper and more sustainable source of electricity as well as being able to dispose of difficult waste such as food waste through anaerobic digestion?

Photo of Charles Hendry Charles Hendry The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

My hon. Friend raises a critical issue. In the past, we simply have not had enough joined-up thinking on this matter. We are putting in place higher penalties for landfill to discourage people from using it, but at the same time we will be supporting a range of technologies, including anaerobic digestion, which can make a significant contribution to the problem.