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EU exit a threat to industry investment, says Suez

Suez UK has reaffirmed its support for the UK to continue its membership of the EU, following a report from a specialist group of MPs.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) said no environmental case had been made for leaving the EU, and there had been little planning from Defra for a potential exit in the event of a ‘no’ vote on 23 June.

The conclusions came in the EAC report EU and UK Environmental Policy, to which Suez contributed evidence.

Chief executive David Palmer-Jones welcomed the findings, agreeing that leaving the EU would be detrimental to the UK’s environmental services sector and hamper a policy drive towards a circular economy (CE).

“The EU is the driving force behind much of the environmental policy and legislation which enables companies like Suez to invest in new services and infrastructure.

“Should the referendum be decided in favour of a Brexit and the UK leaves the EU, there is a clear risk that the current EU-led policy drives towards creating a CE within the UK will stall or even move back a step. This, in turn, could have a negative impact on future investment decisions into UK infrastructure.”

Palmer-Jones added that the EU-driven 50% recycling target for 2020 had provided the underpinning for hundreds of millions of pounds of investment into recycling and energy-from-waste facilities, predicting that the EU’s proposed 65% goal by 2030 would drive further investment if implemented.

An UK exit would also trigger a re-evaluation of current infrastructure investments in the industry, he said.

In February, Palmer-Jones backed continuing EU membership, but said Suez would not be telling employees which way to vote because it was a wider political decision than just the recycling sector.

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