Following speeches made yesterday by Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom at the Conservative Party Conference, UK’s Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) has called for greater clarity on the likely impacts of Brexit on the waste and resource sector.
The organisation welcomed the clearer Brexit timetable but said thatt the waste and resources sector is still in the dark about its future
CIWM chief executive Steve Lee said:
“In the process outlined in her announcement at the weekend, the Prime Minister has provided a degree of certainty for UK business, including our sector. Existing EU law, of course, remains in force until the Article 50 negotiations are concluded and the UK is in a position to repeal the European Communities Act.
“Converting it into British law in the interim, however, allows a stable transition up to the point at which the post-Brexit UK Government is ready to undertake the mammoth task of amending, repealing or improving those laws.
“This is all helpful in a general context, and confirms that the landscape won’t change for at least the next two to three years. The future of the waste and resources sector, however, hangs as much in the balance today as it did before the Conservative Party Conference.
“Beyond promising both a tailored and ambitious approach to environmental protection in Defra’s 25-year environment plan, Andrea Leadsom’s speech yesterday offered up little detail on the department’s approach to Brexit, despite the fact that UK policy in this area is largely framed around and driven by EU legislation.
“Myriad questions remain, including the outlook for the EU Circular Economy package, which could be on the EU statute book before the UK departs. We must also keep an eye out for more detail on exactly how changes to the existing legislation will be made when the time comes. Will it be a truly consultative (and potentially, therefore, long drawn out and complex) process as May promises or will Ministers be given executive powers?
“Looking on the positive side, there is everything to play for and CIWM is and will continue to engage with all four UK governments to ensure that the UK has a robust and ambitious waste and resources strategy in the future. On the down side, investment in services and infrastructure requires long term certainty and it is hard to say when our industry will have that luxury again.”
Following up on his comments, and in his role as Resources & Waste UK (R&WUK) chief executive, Lee concluded:
“Ultimately, the statement by Theresa May is welcome as far as it goes but, as ever, there is much more to be done to support ongoing investment and performance improvement across this sector. We have a significant role to play in supporting resource productivity and competitiveness as part of the Prime Minister’s new UK industry strategy and to do so we need to ensure that post-Brexit UK continues to have a strong environmental policy and legislation framework.
“We will also need to remain broadly in line with the rest of Europe to facilitate the trade deals that will have to be struck if the UK is not a member of the Single Market.”
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