No-Deal Brexit Means More Waste Stays in England, Costs Rise for Councils

by | Aug 26, 2019

With three million metric tons of UK domestic waste currently being exported to the EU each year to be recycled or turned into fuel, a no-deal Brexit could mean more waste will be sent to UK landfills, experts warn; the Environment Agency encourages firms that export waste to consider alternative options, because they will be expected to continue to “adhere to the conditions of their permits” even in a no-deal situation.

The councils of a number of local authorities say the possibility of disruption of waste exports is a significant risk when it comes to a no-deal Brexit, with waste management costs expected to rise. Garbage from the southeast of England, forced to remain in the country, would likely be sent to landfills in the north, writes the BBC.

It is unclear whether “trading waste with the EU would be tariffed, based on its possible definitions as importing a service, waste processing or exporting goods,” reports the Parliamentary Review.

A worst-case scenario could see port disruptions that might result in recycling banks and waste transfer stations becoming full and potentially closing, according to a document compiled by Southampton City Council.

But the BBC article indicates the waste export situation is less dire than it was last year, since the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has negotiated the continuation of the trade in waste with individual regulators in some EU nations.

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