Documents considered by the Committee on 2 May 2018 Contents

7EU legislation on waste

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Cleared from scrutiny (by Resolution of the House on 08/03/2016); drawn to the attention of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Environmental Audit, the Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Welsh Affairs, the Scottish Affairs and the Northern Irish Affairs Committees

Document details

(a) Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 2008/98/EC; (b) Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste; (c) Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste; (d) Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directives 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles, 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators, and 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment

Legal base

(a), (c) and (d) Article 192(1) TFEU, Ordinary legislative procedure, QMV; (b) Article 114 TFEU, Ordinary legislative procedure, QMV

Department

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Document Numbers

(a) (37377), 14975/15 + ADDs 1–3, COM(15) 595; (b) (37378), 14976/15 + ADDs 1–3. COM(15) 596; (c) (37376), 14974/15 + ADDs 1–2, COM(15) 594; (d) (37375), 14973/15 + ADDs 1–2, COM(15) 593

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

7.1The EU has a strategic objective to develop a “circular economy” whereby the maximum value and use is extracted from all raw materials, products and waste, fostering energy savings and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As part of its strategy, the European Commission accordingly proposed in December 2015 a package of four proposals to amend six pieces of existing waste legislation.

7.2A provisional agreement between the EU institutions was reached in December, featuring a range of recycling and landfill targets, including the target that 65% of municipal waste by weight be recycled by 2035 and that 70% of packaging waste be recycled by 2030.

7.3When the Committee considered these documents at our meeting of 31 January 2018, we raised a number of queries, noting that the Government had yet to decide whether it would support the agreed compromise. The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Dr Thérèse Coffey) has responded, addressing our queries. In particular, she confirms the Government’s support for the deal, following an updated analysis by officials. On a pessimistic scenario, the net social loss has reduced from £3.5 billion to £1 billion and, on an optimistic scenario, the net social benefit might be £0.5 billion. These forecasts do not take into account further policies that might be adopted by the Government under its Resources and Waste Strategy.

7.4It is likely that the transposition deadline will be mid-2020 and that it will therefore fall within the post-Brexit implementation period. The Minister indicates that the UK’s approach to transposition will be set out in the Resources and Waste Strategy later in the year.

7.5We are grateful to the Minister for her helpful update, confirming UK support for the deal and confirming too that the UK intends to transpose the legislation. While we look forward to seeing the Government’s transposition plans in the context of the wider Resources and Waste Strategy later this year, we require no further correspondence on the EU legislation.

7.6These documents were cleared from scrutiny by resolution of the House on 8 March 2016 following the debate in European Committee A on 7 March 2016. We draw this Chapter to the attention of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, the Environmental Audit Committee, the Communities and Local Government Committee, the Welsh Affairs Committee, the Scottish Affairs Committee and the Northern Irish Affairs Committee.

Full details of the documents

(a) Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 2008/98/EC on waste: (37377), 14975/15 + ADDs 1–3, COM(15) 595; (b) Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste: (37378), 14976/15 + ADDs 1–3, COM(15) 596; (c) Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste: (37376), 14974/15 + ADDs 1–2, COM(15) 594; (d) Proposal for a Directive amending Directives 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles, 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators, and 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment: (37375), 14973/15 + ADDs 1–2, COM(15) 593.

Background

7.7The details of the Commission’s original proposals were set out in the Report of 20 January 2016. The Committee considered that the proposal raised a number of important issues and recommended it for debate, which subsequently took place on 7 March 2016.

7.8The Minister last wrote to the Committee on 24 January 2018, reporting that agreement was reached between the EU institutions on 17 December 2017. While the Government was still waiting to see the final text, it understood that mandatory targets for municipal waste recycling would be set at 55% by 2025, 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035. Full details of the Government’s understanding of the text were set out in our Report of 31 January 2018.

7.9On Brexit, the Minister observed that, in the future, there could be changes in the UK’s approach to targets to reflect the value and environmental impact of materials collected rather than assessing them by weight alone. In terms of the transposition of this legislation into UK law during any post-Brexit transition or implementation period, the Minister was non-committal, while noting that the transposition date would be mid-2020.

7.10Addressing the contrasting levels of ambition within the UK and between Member States, the Minister noted that the greatest challenges for England are the scale of population and levels of urbanisation, which have an impact on local authority costs, collection arrangements and participation.

7.11When the Minister last wrote, the Government was yet to adopt a position on the outcome of negotiations.

7.12At our meeting of 31 January, we noted the emerging approach to a post-Brexit implementation and—bearing in mind the likely mid-2020 transposition date for this legislation—set out our assumption that the UK would apply the waste package in full. We asked for confirmation from the Minister that this was a fair assumption.

7.13On the negotiated deal, we asked the Minister to write to us once the Government had adopted a position, with an accompanying analysis of the impact and achievability. We asked the Minister to set her response in the context of the recent 25 Year Environment Plan,95 which committed not only to meeting current targets but to setting ambitious new ones.

Letter from the Minister of 22 March 2018

7.14The Minister explains that the Government received the final text of the proposed agreement on 8 February. The UK withheld its position at the February COREPER96 meeting while it scrutinised the proposals and updated its analysis. The proposals were supported by the European Parliament (EP) Environment Committee on the 27 February. The Minister understands that, following an EP plenary vote on 16 April, the proposals will revert to COREPER in mid to late April, ahead of a formal Council vote in May or June 2018.

7.15In terms of the relationship with the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Minister notes the Government’s commitment to improving resource efficiency and increasing the amount and number of materials recycled. She considers that the proposals in the Circular Economy Package “align well with the 25 Year Environment Plan and what we want to achieve through the Resources and Waste Strategy”.

7.16The Minister goes on to set out the Government’s position on the negotiated deal in the following terms, confirming the Government’s intention to support the deal:

“As I have noted previously the UK has raised concerns regarding the 65% by weight recycling target and this is where there has been the most substantive change in the proposals, with the target deadline being extended by a further 5 years to 2035. This target is subject to review by the Commission in 2028.

“Since receiving the final text, officials have updated their analysis. Recognising the opportunity for a further five years to attain the 65% by weight recycling target by 2035, and the review date of 2028, on a pessimistic scenario the net social loss has reduced from £3.5bn to £1bn; with an optimistic scenario, there would be a net social benefit of £0.5bn. This analysis does not take account of the full range of policies under considering for our Resources and Waste Strategy.

“Consequently, the Government intends to support the package at the final vote.”

7.17Regarding the UK’s transposition of the rules, the Minister says:

“The Department for Exiting the European Union has been clear that the implementation period should be based on the existing structure of EU rules and regulations, so that people and businesses only need to make one set of changes as we move to our future partnership. In this context the UK will set out its approach to transposition in the Resource and Waste strategy that is due for publication later this year.”

Previous Committee Reports

Twelfth Report HC 301–xii (2017–19), chapter 11 (31 January 2018); First Report HC 301–i (2017–19), chapter 34 (13 November 2017); Twentieth Report HC 342–xix (2015–16), chapter 1 (20 January 2016); Sixteenth Report HC 342–xv (2015–16), chapter 2 (6 January 2016).


96 Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Member States




Published: 8 May 2018