Waste laws amended ahead of ‘Green Brexit’

A series of amendments to existing waste laws have been outlined – to ensure that there are no regulatory loopholes once the UK has left the EU next March.

The Waste (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) (No.2) Regulations 2019 was published by Defra yesterday (18 December). The amendments are intended to ensure that waste legislation ‘continues to operate as intended’ post-Brexit.

Environmental goals will not be watered down after the UK has left the EU, Defra has said

Text in existing legislation will be modified to remove references to EU directives and EU institutions and replacing them with relevant UK bodies.

This will ensure that targets such as the 50% by 2020 household waste recycling goal and other legal requirements currently bound up in EU law, continue to apply after March 29.

“This instrument will address deficiencies in domestic legislation arising from EU exit and ensure that existing protections and regulatory frameworks are maintained and continue to work in the same way once the United Kingdom has left the EU,” Defra has said.

“The changes to these regulations will ensure the continued operability of the existing regulations largely through replacement of references to the EU or to Member State references. No substantive changes are introduced and they do not remove or amend any environmental standards,” the Department has added in an explanatory memorandum on the changes.


Impacted pieces of legislation include the End of Life Vehicles Regulations, Hazardous Waste Regulations, Packaging Producer Responsibility Regulations, Waste Batteries Regulations, the Waste Regulations, Controlled Waste Regulations and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations.

Adapting current laws on waste has been seen within Defra as a simpler process than faced by the government for other sectors such as farming and health, one insider told letsrecycle.com, where the relationship between EU and domestic laws is more complex.

Defra ministers have promised that existing environmental aims will not be watered down after the UK has left the EU – with the Resources and Waste Strategy, published yesterday (18 December) suggesting that environmental protections will be ‘enhanced’ after Brexit.

In the strategy, Defra stated: “As we implement and deliver this Strategy we will explore whether more stretching targets, over and above those proposed by the EU, can be developed that will deliver the most effective approach to recycling.

“These won’t just target weight but will also consider the environmental impacts of waste, though in doing so will ensure that the frequency and scope of household waste collections is not undermined. Should they be preferable, we will present proposals to the UK Parliament following the UK’s departure from the EU.”

Related Links
Defra – Waste (Misc Amendments) Regulations 2019

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