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New powers for waste export enforcement

UK environment agencies could gain new access to export data to help the fight against waste crime.

Defra announced the proposed changes in a consultation on amendments to the UK’s waste shipment regulations.

The changes would mean HMRC would be able to share information on exports with the UK’s competent authorities (CAs) – the Environment Agency (EA), Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Department of Environment Northern Ireland (DOENI) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

Defra said the changes contributed to the Government’s commitment to improve enforcement and control of waste exports.

The current Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007 supplements the European Union regulation on shipments of waste (WSR). Together the legislation sets out requirements under the Basel Convention of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal - a global convention on waste movements.

Other proposals in the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste (Amendment) Regulations 2013, include:

  • CAs will take over enforcement responsibility from the secretary of state for waste in transit across the UK and in the UK marine area.
  • Powers for the UK Border Force to stop and detain suspect shipments on its own without the need for a request from a CA.
  • Increased fees for importing and exporting waste from Northern Ireland to reflect the costs to DOENI. The changes will raise a total of £23,000 a year from exports and £79,000 from imports.

The proposed amendments would come into force in early summer 2013.

Additionally, the Welsh Government is proposing a future amendment to extend requirements to submit Annex VII forms accompanying green list waste exports to NRW.

The consultation closes on 10 May.

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