HC Deb 16 September 2004 vol 424 cc1670-1WS
Mr. Yeo

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many waste landfill sites have applied for a hazardous waste site permit. [183404]

Margaret Beckett

30 sites have applied for a hazardous waste landfill site PPC permit. This number comprises 18 merchant sites (which would receive hazardous waste on a commercial basis) and 12 in-house sites (which are used to dispose of waste from their own operations such as factory process waste), and includes those sites for which a permit has been refused.

In addition, there are 44 sites that have applied for a PPC permit to build a cell that can accept stabilised non-reactive hazardous waste in a non-hazardous landfill site.

Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much methane gas per year is produced by landfill sites in England; how much is put to use; and what plans she has to increase this latter figure. [187548]

Mr. Morley

In a report commissioned by Defra it is estimated that in 2000, approximately 660,000 tonnes of methane was emitted from UK landfills, accounting for 27 per cent. of the total methane released from the UK.

The amount of methane that is used has significantly increased over the last five years and information held by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) indicates that there is currently 612,674 KW installed capacity at a total of 269 UK landfill gas power stations. This is out of a potential capacity that could be readily exploited for utilisation of approximately 800,000 KW.

The proportion of methane in landfill gas that is used has increased in response to two main drivers and is expected to continue to increase. These drivers are:

(i) The Landfill Regulations (England and Wales) 2002

These regulations require landfill operators to collect, treat and use landfill gas (e.g. electricity generation) to the extent possible. The requirements for improved landfill gas management form an important part of new landfill permits being permitted by the Environment Agency in accordance with the Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) regulatory regime.

(ii) The Renewables Obligation

As part of its revised policy for renewable energy in the UK, the Government introduced the Renewables Obligation for England and Wales. This Obligation requires power suppliers to derive a specified proportion of the electricity they supply to their customers from renewable resources and includes strong financial incentives for suppliers. Landfill gas currently provides approximately one-quarter of the UK's installed generating capacity for renewable power.