The grants, from the Defra Anaerobic Digestion Demonstration Programme, form part of plans to tackle food waste and packaging announced by the government.

According to Defra the five projects have been chosen as they will demonstrate ‘cutting-edge technology’ and will be able to show the ‘benefits of anaerobic digestion’ to a range of industries.

The process breaks down organic matter, such as animal manure and food waste to produce biogas, a renewable energy source for heat, power and transport and keeps organic waste out of landfill, which cuts greenhouse gas emissions.

The successful applicants for funding from the programme are: Biocycle South Shropshire, Blackmore Vale Dairies, GWE Biogas Ltd, Staples Vegetables and United Utilities and National Grid.

Hilary Benn, secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, said: “We need to rethink the way we deal with waste – we must see it as a resource, not a problem.

“In the UK we produce 100m tonnes of food and other organic waste every year that we could be using to create enough heat and energy to run over two million homes – that’s five Birminghams.

“This new technology will provide a source of renewable energy while reducing methane emissions from agriculture and landfill by diverting organic waste, especially food waste, from landfill.

“These first five projects will show other British businesses the benefits and possibilities of anaerobic digestion and help us become world leaders in this exciting new technology.”

Luke Walsh

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