Waste Transhipments (UK Brexit)

As you know, on exit day (without an agreement in place) the UK will be a third country as respects waste shipments to and from EU member states, and to and from EEA countries (the EU Waste Shipment Regulation is incorporated into the EEA Agreement, NB however, shipments to Norway were always regarded as an export).

DEFRA is working behind the scenes to continue current consents (under the EU Waste Shipment Regulation) beyond the exit day, subject to certain conditions being met.

DEFRA has now informed the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) on their latest enquiry, that (per the CIA email to members) “98% of existing consents under the EU Waste Shipments Regulation have attained agreement from EU member states to continue their validity if the UK withdraws from the EU without a deal. However, there will be additional administrative procedures to follow so please contact your regulator if you require clarification”.

Spain remains the only outstanding member state, and the CIA will continue to work with Government on resolving this issue. The CIA ask to be advised if Spain is of relevance to your waste streams and you have not already informed them, or DEFRA.

[my thanks to a client, for the above information, the understanding is “there were 557 consented exports as of November 2018. As of last week, all bar the 12 Spanish ones (including Gibraltar) have obtained agreement from the MS/CA”.]

Waste Shipper Jailed (England)

Repeat waste crime offender Joe Benson was sentenced (June 2014) to 16 months in prison at Snaresbrook Crown Court for illegally exporting 46 tonnes of hazardous electrical waste to Nigeria, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and the Congo.

Broken cathode ray tube televisions and ozone depleting fridge freezers were found in four containers intercepted at ports by Environment Agency investigators.

This is the first time a custodial sentence is handed down for illegal waste exports.

Andrew Higham, who leads the Environment Agency’s National Environmental Crime Team, said:

These are not victimless crimes. The rules governing the exportation of waste electrical equipment are in place for good reason, to protect human life and the environment.

It is illegal to send hazardous waste to these countries. Mr Benson has seen fit to flaunt the rules for his own personal benefit. The Environment Agency has a specialist crime unit to track and prosecute criminals who export waste illegally.

Per the EA press release – Working electronics can be exported for resale and there is a legitimate market for used goods. But the law is clear – it is always illegal to send hazardous electronic waste from the UK to developing countries where it could be dumped and burnt to extract precious metals, posing serious risks to people’s health and damage to the environment. They can contain hazardous materials such as lead, phosphors and ozone depleting substances.