Fourth carbon budget including waste measures confirmed


The Government has confirmed that it will aim to meet a legally binding target of reducing emissions by 50 per cent across 2023 to 2027 against 1990 levels.

Fears by Chancellor George Osborne that the target was too far ahead of other countries and that green measures were a burden to business led to a review of the fourth carbon budget, that was originally agreed in 2011.


Among the measures as part of the fourth carbon budget are aims to reduce the emissions from waste.

Indeed, the annual review published this year by the Committee on Climate Change, which advises the Government on meeting the targets, a number of recommendations were set out to reduce waste emissions.

These included:

  • Defra to agree responsibility deals with sectors specified in waste review (waste management, paper, packaging, textiles) by end 2015
  • Defra to explore scope to strengthen incentives through the waste chain by end 2017
  • Defra to consider and publish an approach to increase methane capture rates, towards best practice, with milestones and measures to ensure these are met by end 2017
  • Defra to publish specific strategies on how to reduce each of main biodegradable waste sources (specifically food, paper/card, and wood) from households and businesses, with milestones and measures to ensure these are met by end 2016
  • The Government to consider mandating UK-wide provision of separate food waste collection services by local authorities by end 2016
  • Defra to follow the examples of Scotland and Wales which plan to ban or divert biodegradable waste from landfill, by reconsidering bans on major sources of biodegradable waste, on a case by case basis by end 2016.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey (pictured) said: “The fourth carbon budget, which caps the UK’s emissions, will not change. It covers 2023 to 2027, and will cement the UK as a global leader in combating climate change in an affordable way. We are increasingly seeing other countries who recognise our shared responsibility to tackle climate change join us in ambitious action.

“We are close to a new EU climate deal that would cut emissions by 40 per cent across Europe by 2030 – meaning there would be a level playing field for British business and industry with our biggest trading partners when it comes to cutting emissions.

“In reviewing the fourth carbon budget, I was reassured by the vast majority of business groups, investors and environmental groups who agreed that any change would be unjustified, would deter investment and undermine our efforts to get a global climate deal in 2015.”

Committee on Climate Change chairman Lord Deben added: “I am very pleased that the Government has accepted our advice given under the terms of the Climate Change Act. This was that the fourth carbon budget should not be changed because the basis upon which it was drawn up had not altered. This confirmation is a further example of the commitment of Government and Parliament to battle against climate change.

“The fourth carbon budget is designed to ensure the most cost-effective route to meet our statutory commitment to an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050. Decarbonising our electricity system is an essential step to that end. The Government’s reinforcement of its commitment is very welcome and the Committee will continue to monitor developments and advise Government of any necessary future changes.

“Business can be confident that the UK is determined to create a low-carbon economy and benefit from the growth and the jobs which that will produce. It is also worth noting that increasing numbers of countries are following our lead and making the mitigation of climate change a priority.”