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Waste: Exports

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL1789, tabled on 24 February 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (HL226), what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of sanctions as a means of discouraging the export of illegal waste shipments.

Answered on

9 March 2020

The four UK regulators have a range of enforcement tools and sanctions available in respect to waste exports offences. The Environment Agency (EA) has published an Enforcement and Sanctions Policy and it details how the EA make enforcement and sanctioning decisions including the decision to prosecute. The EA also have internal enforcement governance procedures to ensure consistency, transparency and accountability for all enforcement recommendations or decisions they make. These procedures enable the EA to monitor offending and the sanctions and other interventions they use.

The Government has committed in the Resources & Waste Strategy to review the regulatory framework covering waste exports. We will consult this year on actions to better manage and control waste exports, including through tighter monitoring and enforcement of the existing regulations and we will seek views on the effectiveness of sanctions as part of that consultation.

The Environment Bill also includes a power to introduce electronic tracking of waste to help tackle waste crime here in the UK and prevent illegal waste from being shipped abroad.

Recognising the difficulties experienced by some countries in managing imports of plastic waste, the Queen’s Speech on 19 December last year included a commitment to ban the export of plastic wastes to countries that are not members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. We will consult this year on the date by which this should be achieved.