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Lords urge government for clarity on waste policy post-Brexit

The House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee have urged the Government to provide clarity on its vision for the UK's future waste policy, in a letter to the Enivironment Minister published today.

The UK currently exports millions of tonnes of waste to the EU each year. Following several evidence sessions on the subject, the Committee have written to the Minister for the Environment, Dr Thérèse Coffey, to express their concerns about the impact that Brexit might have on this trade in waste.

These concerns include that, if leaving the Single Market and Customs Union results in increased costs and barriers to trade, this could lead to:

  • More waste being sent to non-EU markets, with lower tariffs but also lower environmental standards.
  • Storage difficulties if there are delays at ports to go through border controls.
  • An increase in waste crime and the illegal dumping of waste.
  • More waste being landfilled in the UK.

Lord Teverson, Chairman of the Committee, said:

“In evidence given to the Committee, the Minister was confident that Brexit will have little or no impact on the UK's trade in waste. However, we have heard from experts across the industry and this confidence is not shared.

“While it remains unclear which aspects of EU policy the UK will continue to mirror, and which it will choose to diverge from, businesses are unable to make investment decisions for the years ahead or decide which markets to pursue.

“Given the real anxiety expressed by the industry over the lack of policy direction, we would urge the Government to provide clarity on its vision for the UK's future waste policy at the earliest possible opportunity.”

The Letter is available on the Committee's website.

To request an interview with Lord Teverson please call 02072198535 or email

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