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Commingling verdict weeks away

Opponents of the legislation from Defra and the Welsh Government on recycling collections have finally had their day in court to argue that the authorities are out of step with the rest of the EU.

Lawyers in the long-awaited judicial review (JR) of the Waste Regulations took just two of the allotted four days to make their arguments, before the judge at the Administrative Court for Wales in Cardiff retired to consider his verdict.

The claimants, members of the Campaign for Real Recycling (CRR), argue Defra and the Welsh Government have not properly transposed the European revised Waste Directive Framework (rWFD), in particular rules on when commingled collections are allowed.

They argue commingled collections do not produce high quality recyclate.

The on-going legal action forced the Governments to revise the regulations last year to require separate collections only where technically, environmentally and economically practicable (TEEP) and necessary to meet the required standards of reprocessors.

But the CRR rejected that revision as an inadequate transposition of the EU law which demands: “measures to promote high quality recycling” and “separate collections of waste where technically, environmentally and economically practicable and appropriate to meet the necessary quality standards for the relevant recycling sectors.”    

The judge, Mr Justice Hickinbottom, is also considering an application by the claimants to send the case to be heard by the European Court of Justice.

Mal Williams, CRR chair, previously told MRW he wanted the case heard in Luxembourg so European judges could rule on the row over interpretation of European law.

Waste firms Biffa and Veolia released statements warning that a victory for the CRR forcing councils to switch to kerbside sort would waste taxpayers money and damage recycling rates.

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