Government Issues No Deal Brexit Reminder To Waste Industry

The waste industry should “review contingency plans” should the UK leave the EU without a deal, the Government has said in a reminder to waste companies that export waste from the UK.

The government is reminding companies which export waste from the UK to review their contingency plans in case of disruption at ports, should the UK leave the European Union without a deal.

Leaving the EU with a deal remains the government’s “top priority”, the statement says. “However, a responsible government must plan for every eventuality, including a no deal scenario”.

With or without a deal, all existing consents which authorise the export of hazardous waste, known as ‘notified waste’, to any EU country will remain valid when the UK leaves the EU. Companies that export waste from the UK will see no change in the processes that govern the export of ‘non-notified waste’ (‘green-list’ wastes) to the EU.

Thérèse Coffey – “Our landmark Resources and Waste Strategy makes clear that we are committed to dealing with more of our waste in the UK and increasing recycling. But in the short term, we have taken important action to ensure any disruption caused by a no-deal Brexit can be minimised”

However, Government says that in the event of no deal, changes to border controls may impact on some waste exports.

“Disruptions” at container ports are not expected, it says, but there may be some delays at ports which operate “roll-on, roll-off” systems. The Port of Dover is predicted to be the most affected and steps are being taken to minimise the impact. Waste exports using the Eurotunnel may also experience disruptions.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Our landmark Resources and Waste Strategy makes clear that we are committed to dealing with more of our waste in the UK and increasing recycling. But in the short term, we have taken important action to ensure any disruption caused by a no-deal Brexit can be minimised.

“This government has been absolutely clear on our commitment to deliver a Brexit deal negotiated with the EU. But the government is preparing for any eventuality and we need our businesses to do the same.”

Do You Export Waste?

If you or your business collects, transports or stores waste that is due to be exported to the EU, your existing permit or licence still applies and you are expected to continue to meet its conditions.

Given anticipated disruption at some ports, you should make a plan to minimise any impacts on your business:

  • review your own capacity and how long you can store waste on your site
  • identify alternative storage facilities that could accept your waste
  • assess if there are other export routes to market that avoid impacted ports
  • dentify any alternative recovery or disposal routes for your waste
  • contact your haulage operator to discuss any potential changes to transport plans.

If you do change your export route, you will also need to change your export notification. This must be agreed by the UK and overseas competent authority. In England, you can contact the Environment Agency for advice, or contact the equivalent competent authority if you are in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

If you have to keep additional waste on your site for longer than expected, you will need to consider any resulting environmental risks and take steps to keep these properly controlled.

Your contingency plans need to be compatible with the requirements on your permit. In England, if you are unable to make adequate contingency plans you should contact the Environment Agency for advice.


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