United Kingdom methane memorandum

Last updated: 7 February 2023

To demonstrate its commitment to the Global Methane Pledge, the government of the United Kingdom issued this memorandum to track its progress as of 2020 in comparison to 1990 levels and list its plans to further reduce methane emissions.

  1. Energy sector: Methane emissions were reduced by 84% over this time period. Methane has been abated from the following sources: coal mines, leakage form the midstream gas network and flaring and venting of gas in the upstream oil and gas industry. The United Kingdom aims to achieve zero routine flaring and venting targets by 2030 or sooner. The government will also explore additional options to reduce methane leakage as far as practicable.
  2. Waste sector: Methane emissions were reduced by 75%. This reduction came mostly from landfill emissions. Key drivers were the landfill tax and a gas management plan requirement. The memorandum emphasised its commitment in the Resources and Waste Strategy 2018 to increase municipal recycling rates to 65% and to ensure that no more than 10% of municipal waste is landfilled by 2035. The UK will explore policies to work towards the near elimination of biodegradable municipal waste to landfill by 2028, including the provision of £295 million of capital funding to allow local authorities to implement weekly household food waste collection and separate food waste collection from non-household premises.
  3. Agriculture sector: Methane emissions were reduced by 15% due to more efficient agricultural practices. The government plans to further enhance the efficiency of livestock production. 
  4. International commitments: The United Kingdom is already active in international cooperative efforts relevant to methane.  In addition to joining the Global Methane Pledge, the United Kingdom is a state partner of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, a member of the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership Steering Group and has committed to the World Bank’s ‘Zero Routine Flaring by 2030’ initiative.

The memorandum also notes that through the Net Zero Strategy (NZS), the government plans to cut emissions by at least 68% by 2030 and approximately 77% (including international aviation and shipping) by 2035 compared to 1990 levels and is committed to reaching net zero by 2050.
Lastly, the Environmental Agency plans to create an Environment Agency Methane Action Plan, which will focus on measuring and monitoring methane data, enabling and encouraging operators to reduce methane emissions and sharing information with other countries.

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