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Coalition must climb massive waste mountain targets

By Rick Pendrous , 02-Jul-2010

The coalition government's green credentials will be put to the test following its announcement of a waste strategy review.

The environment issue has "hit the government between the eyes", said Lib Dem peer Lord Redesdale, who chaired a seminar on food packaging and waste organised by the Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum in London last month.

It will test the abilities of the new energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne, who faces a number of challenges, remarked Redesdale, who is also chairman of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association.

Referring to the coalition's plans for a "huge increase in energy from waste from anaerobic digestion (AD)", Redesdale accepted: "AD is not the silver bullet for all waste."

Redesdale said the new report on climate change targets would be based to a large degree on AD. "Finance is the big problem at the moment," he said. "To meet government targets we have to build and commission two plants a week for the next 10 years it's quite a difficult target to achieve."

Redesdale doubted the government would be prepared to stump up the £25bn estimated costs of building these AD plants. "It's going to come from the private sector and I'm absolutely certain the banks are going to put up the money," he added. "And this is a role for the Green Bank [proposed by the new administration] that we are going to talk to the government about."

The waste strategy review has been welcomed by stakeholders in the food and drink supply chain.

Chris Dow, md of East London recycler Closed Loop Recycling said: "I have long stated that the current waste set up in the UK is too fragmented and lacking a solid direction and sound regulatory framework, which means that a valuable resource is, quite literally, going to waste."

The Food Ethics Council's Liz Barling said: "Until we confront the causes of our throwaway society, throwing away less won't make our lifestyles more sustainable."

At a meeting of the signatories to Courtauld Two the second phase of a voluntary agreement to reduce the environmental impact of packaging and waste last month, environment minister Lord Henley, said: "This government is right behind you the Prime Minster has pledged that this will be the greenest government ever, and waste is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing this country."

03:43 pm 16 September 2014