A Governmental review of EU powers affecting the UK has revealed general support for waste and environment regulations.
The cross-department ‘balance of competences’ review looked at how UK industry and other stakeholders viewed the influence of EU legislation.
It said the waste management profession agreed that EU Landfill Directive and Waste Framework “significantly changed the UK’s approach to waste management, reducing landfill and increasing recycling”.
The Environmental Services Association told the review the Landfill Directive had led to a “huge reduction” in UK methane emissions from landfill, which are down 65% since 1990, and a “much better” rate of recovery of materials and energy for the UK economy.
In its response, the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) said EU climate change policies had driven economic growth and jobs by creating a sufficiently large market for low-carbon technologies.
The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management called for further regulation in some areas and said there should be new EU-wide standards for solid recovered fuel and refuse derived fuels.
Both the CIWM and the Resource Association said that an additional 50,000 jobs could be created if the UK increased its recycling rate to 70%.
Some respondents warned against the cost of waste obligations on small to medium sized businesses.
The review said: “The evidence showed that in some cases respondents believed that EU regulation had not found the right balance between costs and benefits and that some legislation was disproportionate, with high costs experienced by companies or individuals leading to minimal environmental benefits.”
Equivalent annual direct costs to waste businesses of EU environmental legislation (excluding climate change) 2011. This represents 7% of costs to all businesses across every sector.
Source: Defra ‘The Costs and Benefits of Defra’s Regulatory Stock’ Emerging Findings from Defra’s Regulatory Stock Assessment (2011)