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New code of practice for landfill gas capture
The Industry Code of Practice (ICOP) for the management of landfill gas, produced by the Environmental Services Association (ESA) in collaboration with industry experts and waste management companies, sets out standards and methods of best practice for operators and regulators involved in the collection and use of landfill gas.
Landfill gas, made up predominantly of methane (CH4), is the end product of the decomposition of biodegradable waste in the absence of oxygen. Although methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas, having between 21-25 times the equivalent impact of carbon dioxide (CO2) on global warming, when captured, it can also be used to generate electricity or compressed to create an alternative to vehicle fuel.
Developed in conjunction with the Environment Agency, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the 166-page document represents current best practice in the management of gas produced from landfill sites accepting biodegradable waste. The ESA hopes that the code of practice will serve to highlight issues commonly encountered during landfill gas capture by both identifying necessary considerations and offering possible solutions, as well as ensuring that facilities operate correctly and safely.
The guidelines were produced following the publication of a Responsibility Deal, developed by Defra and the ESA. The accord seeks to ensure that progress continues to be made in modernising the UK’s approach to waste management. It is estimated that landfill sites in England and Wales produce almost three per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions; however, between 2006 and 2010, the waste management industry measured a rise of over 14 per cent in the amount of this gas being used to generate green electricity.
Matthew Farrow, ESA’s Director of Policy, explained: “The ICOP will enable continued effective management of landfill gas, with associated environmental benefits. It is a result of effective joint working, and we particularly welcomed the involvement of the UK’s environmental regulators in its development. Publishing this ICOP is one example of how we are demonstrating our commitments in the Waste and Resource Sector Responsibility Deal: to maximise recovery of landfill gas, and to adopt practices that reduce nuisance and impact on local communities.”
Harvey Bradshaw, the Environment Agency’s Head of Regulated Industry, responded positively to the ICOP: “Control and capture of methane emissions from landfill is one of our top environmental priorities. We welcome publication of the ICOP as evidence of the commitment we seek from the waste industry to work with us to find solutions for stopping uncontrolled methane emissions. We expect the ICOP to play a key role in promoting best practice and improving the standard of landfill gas management within the UK, to reduce the environmental and amenity impact of landfill.”
The ICOP can be viewed in PDF format on the ESA's website.
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