Battle of bidders begins for waste funding

Seven preferred bidders were named this week for the first round of a Government programme that will fund pilot schemes using new technology for treating and diverting biodegradable municipal waste.

Helping to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, the pilot schemes will run in partnership with local authorities and industry and establish the viability of emerging and near-market waste technologies.

They should also act as a confidence boost for industry and local authorities with regards to the economic and environmental feasibility of these relatively new technologies.

Reducing landfill is presently a key objective for the Government under the Landfill Directive (see related story). One tonne of biodegradable waste produces between 200 and 400 cubic metres of landfill gas, which contributes to around 2% of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions.

Environment Minister Elliot Morley said he was confident the plants would be helpful for local authority decision makers, waste management companies and other stakeholders. "We need to make sure the relevant authorities come away from the plants more informed and more confident about the types of technology that could help to address their waste management needs," he said.

Five demonstration plants should be operational by the end of 2005, with a further five planned for 2006. All the pilots will be regulated to strict environmental standards and will run for around two years. These facilities will ultimately be made available to local authorities and industry to help inform waste management decision-making.

A total of over £30 million in funding will be delivered through the programme to encourage innovation in waste management technology through the UK.

By Jane Kettle



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