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The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), the national body that represents businesses which provide the technology and services that deliver environmental performance - has today called for a national debate on setting ambitious but realistic recycling targets for 2025 to provide a framework for the resources sector post-Brexit.  The call comes in a briefing paper published by EIC, with legal advice from B P Collins, on the implications of Brexit for waste regulations and the waste and resources sector titled: Brexit: Implications for the Waste and Resources Sector. 

EIC Executive Director Matthew Farrow said:

‘The complex layers of EU waste law established over 40 years have transformed waste management and recycling in the UK, helping us get from bottom of the league to mid-table.  Post-Brexit the Government must resist making significant changes to regulations as this will undermine what has been achieved. 

But there are areas where new thinking is required.  It is not clear that the UK will meet the EU 2020 50% recycling target and Commission will no longer be able to sanction the UK for not achieving it.  While the EU is considering a one-size fits all target for the remaining EU countries for 2030, the UK should consider setting a 2025 target that is ambitious but realistic in a UK context.  Such a target if set with industry and cross-party support would provide an investment framework for the industry to drive UK progress towards a circular economy.’ 

Other recommendations made in the report include: 

-        Copy EU Ecodesign regulations that emerge from the Circular Economy package

-        Incorporate circular economy approaches in the sector plans to be developed under the new Industrial Strategy

-        Review the Separate Collection provisions of the revised Waste Framework Directive to ensure a pragmatic approach

-        Encourage regulatory commonality between the devolved nations even while targets and initiatives may diverge

-        Recognise the need for Best Overall Environmental Option (BOEO) to be considered alongside the waste hierarchy

-        Retention of the EU definition of waste to avoid prolonged uncertainty 

The report was drafted with support from law firm B P Collins LLP, which takes a keen interest on behalf of its clients in the waste industry sector as to the impact  of EU waste legislation  in the UK.  David Smellie, a partner in the environment group said: 

‘This report acts as a real voice for the industry. Any indication on the future of environmental policy and indeed legislation in the waste management sector  has been largely absent from any recent government announcements on Brexit or in the Brexit white paper. So this is a real opportunity for the industry to help influence the next steps that the government should take on developing and facilitating the future growth of this sector.”​

To see the full report click here