A BID to make Malton Yorkshire’s first Circular economy market town has taken its first steps forward.

Funding has been secured from the Rural Community Energy Fund to look at the feasibility of establishing a community benefitting anaerobic digester, using local food waste and agricultural waste to create heat and energy for Malton and Norton.

Lucy Hopwood, director of AD experts Bioeconomy Consultants NNFCC, who have been commissioned to conduct the feasibility study, said: “We will explore what type and quantity of waste is generated locally, what currently happens to this waste and how suitable or appropriate it is to use it in a community anaerobic digester.

“We will be considering options such as inedible food waste, processing residues and agricultural wastes sourced from food and drink manufacturers, cafes and restaurants, schools, residents, shops, racing stables and farms in and around Malton and Norton.

“This will allow us to determine the optimum size and location of a digester and the energy, employment and environmental benefits that can be created for the town.”

Malton and Norton residents and businesses will be invited to share their views in forums and via a research survey as the project progresses with the findings and suggested next steps being shared when this feasibility project is completed.

The project is supported by the BEIS funded Rural Community Energy Fund, which is managed by the North East Yorkshire and Humber Energy Hub and administered by Tees Valley Combined Authority.

Sue Jefferson, a member of the Circular team, said: “We recognise there are a number of ways to avoid food waste ending up in landfill, including great initiatives like the Ryedale Free Fridge and the Too Good To Go schemes, however when the waste is not suitable for human consumption, anaerobic digestion is a great solution.

“I love the example that the waste from producing just one sausage roll could heat an average house for two minutes or power a laptop for over half an hour.”

Business owners will be contacted to discuss the practicalities and the community are invited to share their views via online group discussions as well as a survey, online, by phone or by post. Details of the forums and research survey will be available shortly. Meanwhile, people can read the Frequently Asked Questions by emailing CircularMaltonNorton@gmail.com