The European Commission has warned that unless a Brexit deal is done, exporters of waste and recycling between the UK and the EU – and vice versa will face new rules as EU waste law will not apply.
In an official Notice to Stakeholders, the Commission says it has acted to warn “private parties” and others of the legal repercussions of the UK becoming a “third country” in terms of international shipping and waste regulations.
Waste management and recycling firms, referred to as “private businesses” by the Commission, are now on official warning and in the Notice are given advice as to what to do.
However, the Commission does note that the ending of EU waste law is subject to any transitional arrangements and to a ratified withdrawal agreement, which it acknowledges is currently a matter of negotiation between the UK and the EU.
This means that if a deal is agreed with the EU-27, the Notice is likely to be dropped or at least amended.
In the notice to stakeholders, “Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU Waste Law”, the Commission spells out the impact of Brexit on the waste sector from 00.00 on 30 March 2019.
Waste companies are warned of the “legal repercussions” involved because the UK, will become a third country which is a party to the Basel Convention.
As of 30 March there will be a ban on sending mixed municipal waste from the EU-27 to the UK for recovery and on all waste for disposal. Exports from the UK to the EU-27 will be governed as if from a Basel Convention member, subject to the applicable EU regulations.
And, for businesses in the waste and recycling sector seeking consents before 29 March for the export of materials to the EU-27 from March 30, even if these are not prohibited and are acceptable under the third country/Basel Convention rules, the Notice suggests that at least five additional documentation and notification procedures are likely to be needed.
These five include the regulatory authorities in the UK sending stamped copies of their decisions to their counterparts in the EU; the carrier to deliver a copy of the movement document to EU customs offices; stamped copies of notifications to be sent regarding whether the waste has left or entered the EU.
Other points of the Notice cover Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment and Batteries, municipal waste, packaging and end of life vehicles.
UK businesses recycling material within the UK will be allowed to give evidence of recycling for use as evidence by users in EU-27 states if “there is sound evidence that the treatment of that waste in the United Kingdom takes place in conditions that are equivalent to the requirements” of the relevant EU Directive.