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‘Little immediate impact’ on compliance policy following referendum

Plastics recyclate

The UK’s decision to leave the EU will not immediately change businesses’ obligations under existing recycling and waste regulations, according to compliance firms.

Ecosurety commercial director James Piper said current recycling obligations for batteries, packaging and electronic waste producers would remain “for the foreseeable future” despite market disruptions.

“In the short term, we could expect to see an element of exchange rate fluctuations and market disruptions as businesses grapple with a wide range of knock-on effects on supply chains and international trade across a range of sectors.

“But Ecosurety believes such changes are unlikely to affect the work that producers need to do each year to achieve compliance because the current system already adjusts for these type of market movements.

“In time, we expect the UK Government to consult the industry on variations to the current system, but we certainly do not believe this will be at the top of the list of priorities.

“Especially when the current approach has a market price which is self-regulating and based on the competitive nature of supply and demand principles.”

Another compliance company Clarity Environmental said it hoped that future UK waste legislation would “complement and align” with EU policy.

Managing director David Adams said: “The Government will now set out its terms for leaving the EU and we hope that the waste and recycling sector continues to be a priority, that it receives the attention it deserves and the Government builds on the environmental benefits that have been seen in recent years by using the opportunity to invest in the sector.”

Meanwhile construction industry analysis firm Glenigan, a member of Emap, said its sector now faces a “protracted period of economic uncertainty”.

Economics director Allan Wilen said: “Contractors and material suppliers will need to be especially alert to potential disruption to the timing and realisation of projects on their order books. Glenigan can help with the identification and securing of new projects to bridge gaps in shifting workloads.

“Recent months have seen private sector investors delaying investment decisions ahead of the vote. We expect investors to now reappraise their industrial and commercial property development plans in light of the vote. The London commercial property market looks especially vulnerable as many financial institutions need to be located within the EU.

“The economic and political uncertainty is also likely to dampen activity in the housing market and private housebuilding activity in the coming months.

“Near term, the flow of public sector work should not be affected by the Brexit vote. The regulated utilities, the water industry, Network Rail and the National Grid will continue to press on with planned capital programmes agreed with their regulator.”

O’Donovan Waste Disposal managing director Jacqueline O’Donovan said the construction industry was in a state of uncertainty and would be unable to function without access to foreign workers.

 “As an industry, we rely heavily on foreign workers to fill skilled and non-skilled job roles and the current EU principle of free movement makes immigration between member states easy and stress-free.

“By coming out of the EU, we are now concerned that our non-UK drivers will be encouraged to move back to their homeland, which will worsen the driver shortage crisis that we are currently experiencing. Foreign labour is vital for the skills shortage.

“Our skilled individuals could look to move elsewhere apart from their homeland too, such as France, Germany or Spain, where free movement will remain intact.”

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