Creagh: Brexit leaves recycling investors ‘reeling’

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union will see investors in recycling technologies look to countries of less risk, Environmental Audit Committee chair Mary Creagh has warned.

Speaking at Tuesday’s Westminster debate on the environmental impact of the referendum, the Wakefield MP said Brexit had left investors in the UK’s secondary raw materials market “reeling”.

Mary Creagh, Labour MP for Wakefield, has warned about the fallout from Brexit on recycling markets
Mary Creagh, Labour MP for Wakefield, has warned about the fallout from Brexit on recycling markets

But also attending the debate, incumbent resources minister Rory Stewart said he was “deeply optimistic” about Britain’s future outside of the EU.

Ms Creagh’s comments follow Veolia UK & Ireland Vice-President Estelle Brachlianoff’s warning last week that landfill tax alone will not provide the investment required for UK recycling now it has voted to leave the EU (see letsrecycle.com story).

Questions

Addressing the House of Commons, Ms Creagh said: “Brexit raises a series of questions. There is the issue of the circular economy package, which is the EU’s drive to get us to reduce waste, recycle more and have a secure and sustainable supply of raw materials, such as paper, glass and plastics.

“That would have driven new, green jobs in the UK economy. The decision to abandon all that has left investors reeling.”

Geraint Davies MP – also a member of the Committee –asked if she agreed the risk of Britain being at “arm’s length and facing tariffs” would see people invest in emerging recycling markets in Europe instead.

Ms Creagh continued: “That is the point I was making. When looking at where to put new foreign direct investment, investors will look again and go to the area of least risk. Those risks are reflected in the economy.”

Ministers

The debate was also attended by newly-appointed shadow minister Rachael Maskell, as well as Kerry McCarthy who resigned from the post in recent weeks.

Mr Stewart concluded the debate with reassurances about Britain’s post-Brexit future, arguing the referendum decision was made by “one of the most well educated populations on Earth”.

“We will continue to have to operate in an international environment. We will have to make compromises,” he added.

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