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RDF exporters share Brexit concerns with Defra

exporting rdf

Transfrontier shipment (TFS) notifications, customs, storage and landfill were discussed at a meeting held yesterday between the waste industry and Government to discuss plans in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Around 40 waste industry figures were present with officials from Defra, HMRC, and the Environment Agency.

Industry has been particularly concerned about obstacles to exporting refuse-derived fuel (RDF) in the event of no-deal post Brexit. There are fears there may be stockpiling of RDF or worse, some may be landfilled.

Around 14% of residual waste is exported and in 2017 some 3.7 million tonnes of RDF and solid recovered fuel (SRF) was exported.

Those in attendance at the meeting said that there were no concrete plans made and that the contingency options were multiple but ‘at least’ the Government was listening to the industry’s concerns – particularly when there are competing fears about food and medicine supplies in a no-deal Brexit scenario.

RDF Industry Group secretariat Harriet Parke said: “The RDF Industry Group attended Defra’s no-deal Brexit planning event for waste export, along with a range of other stakeholders, to discuss what the main risks to the industry are, what the industry is doing and can do to prepare, and what is needed from the government to assist with this.

“Topics ranging from TFS notifications, customs, storage and landfill were discussed, and the Group will continue to work with the regulators and Government departments to prepare for the scenario of a no-deal Brexit.”

Jakob Rindegren, Environmental Services Association recycling policy advisor said: ”We have been assured that the EU competent authorities will allow notifications to roll-over after Brexit, which is good news.

”The concern is therefore not so much with the regulation as with temporary disruptions at ports. Delays and extra costs are of course unwelcome but our members have put in place contingencies to minimise the impact. Another concern is the risk of increased waste crime and abandoned sites, and we encourage local authorities and businesses to be extra vigilant and understand their duty of care.”

Prior to the meeting, Defra confirmed that after March if there is no deal, import/export licences will no longer be valid for shipments of waste to the remaining 27 EU countries, and that licences issued by the EU to the UK will no longer be valid for shipments to the UK.

But the meeting heard that Defra has now agreed that extisting TFS notifications will continue in the majority of EU authorities.

Defra has also confirmed that post Brexit the UK will remain a party to the Basel Convention and a member of the OECD. In the event of no-deal, the UK will be treated in the same way as other OECD countries under the customs guidelines.

Countries exporting waste to the EU for disposal must submit a duly reasoned request (DRR) to the relevant EU competent authority, explaining why the country does not have and cannot reasonably acquire the appropriate disposal facilities.

Defra said there will be no changes to waste exports for recycling, eligible to be shipped under the Green Control procedure.

Comment: Steve Burton, director of Andusia

“It is a shame that Government have left it till now to listen to the waste industry and plan for a no-deal scenario. There appears to be no strategy in place to avoid interruption to the industry. 

“It is Andusia’s view that RDF exports will continue to play a valuable, and crucial, role in diverting waste away from landfill but the lack of clarity in border activities is creating uncertainty and, sadly, scare-mongering.

“At Andusia, logistics is at the heart of our business. We are prepared for every eventuality and will do everything we can to minimise delays and any impact it has on our customers, no matter what the outcome on 29th March.”

  • This article was updated on 14 January to include comment from Steve Burton


Readers' comments (1)

  • So many companies have had the benefit of sending away RDF at the cheapest rate and have made such a huge profit from this in the past that at the slightest change they moan and ask for Government support.

    Frankly they cannot be selling their cakes and eat them at the same time.

    Does anyone weep for them?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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