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Lords start investigation into potential economic benefits of waste

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will next Tuesday, 12 November, hear from the first witnesses to give evidence to its new inquiry into waste and the bioeconomy

The committee is exploring the potential to create a multi-million pound economy from waste, using by-products from agriculture, industry and households.

Experts in waste and the bioeconomy will be asked about the different kinds of waste being used as raw materials (feedstocks), what the environmental impact of this might be, and how the feedstocks can be transformed into something of value.

In the inquiry's first evidence session, starting at 10.40 am, the committee will hear from the following witnesses:

  • Dr Jeremy Tomkinson, CEO, National Non-Food Crops Centre; and
  • Dr Ben Allen and Dr Bettina Kretschmer, Senior Policy Analysts, Institute for European Environmental Policy.

They will be asked about areas such as the different types of wastes which are available; whether they can be easily used as a feedstock; what the potential impact is of using waste as a feedstock in a bioeconomy; how well positioned the UK is to exploit this particular use of waste; and what the economic and environmental costs are of disposing of waste.

In the second part of the session, at 11.40 am, the committee will hear from the following witnesses:

  • Professor Greg Tucker, Professor of Plant Biochemistry, University of Nottingham;
  • Dr Graham Hillier, Director of Strategy and Futures, Centre for Process Innovation; and
  • Dr Will Barton, Head of Manufacturing, Technology Strategy Board (TSB).

They will be asked about areas such as whether there is research underway to enable a wider range of feedstocks to be used; what a major breakthrough might represent; how strong the UK research base is in this area; whether it is possible to quantify the economic and environmental impacts of using waste as a feedstock; and how close to commercialisation this technology is.

The evidence session will take place on Tuesday 12 November, starting at 10.40 am in Committee Room 4.

The session will be webcast at and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament's Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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