The House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has written to Defra Minister Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, asking the UK Government to “urgently provide clarity” on the post-Brexit trade arrangements for waste.
The letter follows an evidence session with industry experts, which examined the potential impact of Brexit on the UK’s trade in waste.
The Committee says it heard that if it becomes more difficult, and more costly, to export waste, this could result in more waste being sent to landfill in the UK; illegally dumped, or being exported to non-EU countries with lower environmental standards.
The letter also highlights that 55% of all plastics we export go to China, but with major restrictions on this trade announced by the Chinese Government, this will place an even greater pressure on the waste industry.
Chairman of the Committee, Lord Teverson, said: “Brexit could provide opportunities for the UK’s trade in waste, but the industry needs certainty in order to be able to plan and invest.
“Without a clear statement on the Government’s future intentions – in relation to recycling targets, regulations on product design the industry cannot predict, or prepare for, future demand.
“We invite Dr Thérèse Coffey MP to address the concerns that were raised during the discussion and look forward to hearing how the Government plans to tackle this pressing issue.”
The letter follows a report published this week, which claimed the UK risks “backsliding” on recycling after Brexit.
It also follows the publication of England’s annual recycling figures, which shows further stagnation.
Read the full letter here