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Lords fear for post-Brexit waste sector

A Parliamentary committee looking at the future of the waste industry has written to resource minister Therese Coffey over concerns about the impact of Brexit on the sector.

The House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has called on the Government ”to provide clarity” on its vision for the UK’s future policy.

Following several evidence sessions on the subject, the committee has written to Coffey to express their oncerns that if the UK left the single market and customs union, it could result in increased costs and barriers to trade, leading to:

  • More waste being sent to non-EU markets, with lower tariffs and lower environmental standards
  • Storage difficulties if there are delays at ports to go through border controls
  • An increase in waste crime and the illegal dumping of waste
  • More waste landfilled in the UK

coffey at lords select committee

coffey at lords select committee

On 10 January, Coffey (pictured) told the sub-committee that UK industry was “unnecessarily worried” about the impact on the international waste trade following Brexit, even if there is no trade deal with the EU.

She said EU waste shipment regulations would in effect be brought into UK law, adding: “Apart from one or two instances, everything can carry on as now. There is no reason for any concerns for the smooth transition in regards to waste management.”

Lord Teverson, chairman of the committee, countered by saying this confidence was not shared across the industry.

“While it remains unclear which aspects of EU policy the UK will continue to mirror and which it will choose to diverge from, businesses are unable to make investment decisions for the years ahead or decide which markets to pursue,” he said.

“Given the real anxiety expressed by the industry over the lack of policy direction, we would urge the Government to provide clarity on its vision for the UK’s future waste policy at the earliest possible opportunity.”

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