Landfills under pressure as methane emission data soar

Estimates of the UK's methane emissions have risen yet again, with landfills now believed to be the largest source, a conference organised by the Watt Committee on Energy heard in January. Official projections suggest that landfill emissions of the gas could increase by a factor of three over the next 30 years, and may pave the way to controls on waste management in the effort to combat global warming.

Methane is an important greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide. According to the Department of the Environment (DoE), the UK's methane emissions have a direct global warming effect of 8% relative to its CO2 emissions, and an indirect effect of similar magnitude.

In 1991, the Watt Committee was commissioned by the then Department of Energy to oversee improved methods for estimating methane emissions and to use these as a

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