Government

Defra secures deal to roll over EU waste shipments notifications

An agreement has been reached by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to maintain 100 per cent of the UK’s notified waste shipments to the EU in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

It is understood that Defra informed the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management (CIWM) last Friday (1 March) that the continuation of all of the UK and Gibraltar’s notified shipments has been agreed on in the case that the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement on 29 March 2019. The European Commission had previously indicated that existing licences for the shipment of waste between the UK and EU countries would be invalid in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario.

This development comes after the Spanish Environment Ministry confirmed that any existing approvals to transport waste between Spain or regional Spanish Competent Authorities and the UK and Gibraltar will remain in place should no deal be agreed.

The agreement will go some way to easing fears over potential blockages to trade exports in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, fears that were heightened after Environment Secretary Michael Gove admitted in a letter to Lord Teverson, Chair of the European Union Energy and Environment Sub-Committee in the House of Lords, that provisions were being made for the stockpiling of waste in the event of a ‘no deal’ withdrawal.

However, Defra has seemingly worked hard to ensure that shipments of waste continue unhindered, with Gove stating in the same letter that as of 15 January, regulators had agreed that 77 per cent of existing waste shipment notifications could be rolled over. Guidance published by Defra in February on what exporters and importers of waste should do to prepare for the UK leaving the EU without an exit deal assured that 98 per cent of existing approvals would remain valid, with approvals granted by Spain remaining the final obstacle until the latest agreement.

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