Cautious waste sector welcome for Brexit trade deal

A cautious welcome for the trade agreement over the UK’s exit from the European Union transition period has emerged from the waste and recycling sector.

Formal approval of the post-Brexit trade deal from the European Parliament and the European Council as well as the UK Parliament is still awaited, but there are strong expectations that approval will happen.

The Environmental Services Association said that a Brexit deal which enables the free flow of materials from 1 January “has to be a good thing”. The Recycling Association echoed the importance that it brings to the free flow of materials and also highlighted remaining challenges as well as costs issues around VAT.

Free flow

Jacob Hayler, executive director of the Environmental Services Association, said: “We are yet to see the details, any deal that minimises disruption and enables the free flow of materials out of the country has to be a good thing.”

Reflecting on the past year, Mr Hayler added: “The Brexit process has been an absolute saga and 2020 has been horrendously afflicted by Covid, but hopefully we can all now look forward to a brighter 2021.”

Costs

Simon Ellin, chief executive of the Recycling Association, which represents a range of recycling businesses, many of which are in the recovered paper sector, said: “Given the current environment we face of Covid, Brexit on the first of January and then you add to the current situation the haulage difficulties and the lack of availability of containers, any certainty the industry can get to help materials keep moving without a significant increase in costs has to be broadly welcomed.”

Mr Ellin continued: “The devil really is in the detail as our understanding is that businesses are still going to have to go through customs clearance which will lead to some delays and an added cost. And, we still believe that we have got the issue of how and where you pay VAT.”

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