Documents considered by the Committee on 23 May 2018 Contents

5Port reception facilities for waste from ships

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested; but scrutiny waiver granted; drawn to the attention of the Transport Committee, Environmental Audit Committee and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Document details

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on port reception facilities for the delivery of waste from ships, repealing Directive 2000/59/EC and amending Directive 2009/16/EC and Directive 2010/65/EU

Legal base

Article 100(2) TFEU; ordinary legislative procedure; QMV

Department

Transport

Document Number

(39447), 5454/18 + ADDs 1–4, COM(18) 33

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

5.1As part of its approach to tackling marine litter, the European Commission proposed to overhaul existing legislation on port reception facilities (PRF) to collect waste from ships. This will align the PRF Directive with the latest MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) requirements. The transposition date for the Directive is 31 December 2020, which is the final day of the proposed post-Brexit implementation period.

5.2The proposals include amended requirements on cost recovery, which are extended to fishing vessels. Under the proposals, vessels will pay a flat “indirect” fee to the port/harbour irrespective of whether they deliver any waste or not. This would include passively-fished waste.

5.3The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ms Nusrat Ghani) has written to update the Committee on progress in the areas of greatest concern to the UK: the introduction of an indirect fee for garbage; issue of a waste delivery receipt (WDR); separate collection of waste from ships in port; and delivery of passively-fished waste. Details of her response are set out below.

5.4In summary, the Government has made some progress in relation notably to the issuing of a Waste Delivery Receipt and to the separate collection of waste from ships in port. Thus far, the Government has met some resistance regarding changes to the indirect fee for garbage, including passively-fished waste. One obstacle to securing amendments has been the distinct structure of UK ports, with a large percentage of privately-owned ports. The Government hopes to be able to negotiate further improvements in advance of possible agreement to a General Approach at the 7 June Transport Council. The Minister asks the Committee to consider waiving the scrutiny reserve to allow the Government to signal its support for a “balanced” General Approach should that be the negotiated outcome.

5.5We appreciate that, due to the upcoming parliamentary recess, it was necessary to write to request a scrutiny waiver before negotiations were at an advanced stage. Given the helpful information provided by the Minister, we are content to waive the scrutiny reserve in order that the Government may signal its support for a balanced General Approach at the 7 June Transport Council. We expect the Government to seek an outcome which is workable for the UK’s model of largely privately-owned ports and which does not disproportionately affect the fishing industry.

5.6We look forward to information on the outcome of the Council. The proposal remains under scrutiny. We draw this chapter to the attention of the Transport Committee, Environmental Audit Committee and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

Full details of the documents

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on port reception facilities for the delivery of waste from ships, repealing Directive 2000/59/EC and amending Directive 2009/16/EC and Directive 2010/65/EU: (39447), 5454/18 + ADDs 1–4, COM(18) 33.

Background

5.7Full background to, and content of, the proposal were set out in our Report of 28 February.

5.8In her original Explanatory Memorandum, the Minister signalled the Government’s support for the overall approach and principles of the proposal. She was concerned about a number of aspects of the proposal as reiterated in her letter of 4 May (see below). On Brexit, the Minister noted that the proposal would affect third countries using EU and EEA (European Economic Area) ports, thus clarifying that the legislation would remain relevant to the UK post-Brexit. She added that, post-Brexit, the UK would continue to play an important role in the international organisations that regulate shipping and would continue to work with other European countries on matters of common interest, such as the exchange of information on the safety of shipping and on pollution.

5.9At our meeting of 28 February, we asked the Minister:

Ministerial letter of 4 May 201837

5.10The Minister sets out progress in relation to the four areas of particular concern to the UK.

5.11On the introduction of an indirect fee for garbage, the Government’s original concern was that a fixed fee may have the unintended consequence of introducing additional burdens for more specialist waste streams such as. hazardous waste and passively-fished waste. The Minister reports that this concern was echoed by several other Member States. Following discussions, the Presidency’s suggested compromise would allow the indirect fee to be differentiated or, in certain cases, subsidised using waste revenues from waste management schemes and funds. While the Commission has indicated that some Member States currently operate such schemes, the UK considers that this compromise does not sufficiently address the concerns.

5.12Regarding the issuing of a Waste Delivery Receipt (WDR), the Government had concerns over the burden and practicalities of such a system—i.e. the need for a licensed waste operator to receive and verify waste from an individual ship before issuing a receipt, adding time and cost to the delivery process, and the difficulties of accurately identifying the quantity/volume of waste to be recorded for the issue of a receipt for waste delivered. On progress, the Minister says:

“There was sympathy among some Member States for our position. However, due to the differences in set up and operation between UK and European ports (primarily due to the large percentage of privately owned ports in the UK), other Member States’ views are different to ours; therefore they do not share our concerns about this element of the proposal and it is unlikely that the requirement will be wholly removed. Nonetheless, we have achieved some improvement and the Presidency’s suggested compromise would remove the need for a waste operator to issue the waste receipt, which would reduce some of the burden.”

5.13Concerning the separate collection of waste from ships in port, the Government was originally concerned about the practical effect of the proposal, particularly on smaller ports where it may be impractical to permit the separate collection of wastes due to the limited/restricted size or access of the port. Progress is described in the following terms:

“Again, the UK gained some support from Member States who shared our concerns, and negotiations have proved successful in that further clarification has been added that port reception facilities will not be required to have separate collections for each of the different waste streams defined in the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (‘the MARPOL Convention’). We will continue to push for further clarification as to how many separate collections will be required under the EU waste legislation, to ensure that this is kept to the minimum.”

5.14On the delivery of passively-fished waste, the Government was concerned that the fishing industry is likely to bear the greatest proportion of the cost burden for the passively-fished waste they deliver—even where they are not responsible for the waste. This is due to the nature of the fishing sector, which has fishing-specific ports whose fees will reflect the quantities of passively-fished waste received. The Minister sets out the following progress:

“Some Member States shared the UK’s concerns about this, but there remains a reluctance to remove passively-fished waste from the indirect fee. The Presidency has suggested including text to enable funding for such treatment and disposal of passively-fished waste to be subsidised through waste revenues from waste management schemes and funds; however, we consider that this compromise does not sufficiently address concerns raised and we are continuing to seek further amendments.

“Negotiations have proved successful in that further clarification has been added to remove passively-fished waste from the definition of waste from ships, to a separate definition to differentiate it as a different waste stream to that of the MARPOL Convention.”

5.15Turning to the specific points raised by the Committee, the Minister has identified only one aspect of the proposal which goes beyond MARPOL requirements—the introduction of a mandatory requirement for a Waste Delivery Receipt (see above).

5.16Responding to the Committee’s request for information on the current approach to collection of marine litter by the fishing industry, including the work of voluntary initiatives such as Fishing for Litter (FFL), the Minister understands that currently there are only two FFL project areas currently in the UK, one in Scotland and the other in the South-West of England. FFL Scotland started in 2005 with 15 participating harbours. FFL South West started in 2009 and has 12 participating harbours. In addition, there are four affiliated stand-alone FFL projects in Holderness, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and North Devon. Participating vessels in the FFL initiative collect marine litter that is caught in their nets during their normal fishing activities and fill the provided bags. These bags are deposited in participating harbours on the quayside where they are moved by harbour staff to a dedicated skip or bin for disposal. The FFL projects provide the bags and cover the treatment and disposal costs.

5.17Regarding flexibility for Member States to design their own cost recovery approaches, the Minister says that the UK has made it clear that the current cost recovery system as set out in the existing Directive allows flexibility for the differing port infrastructure and operation in Member States.

5.18The Minister goes on to summarise the Government’s stakeholder consultation exercise, which was undertaken with organisations representing key stakeholders across ports, harbour masters, fishing vessels, recreational craft and merchant ships. The main feedback from the UK Chamber of Shipping was from the short sea sector, which expressed the view that generally port reception facilities in the UK and Europe do not serve the short sea sector well, as the sector’s operations frequently involve very short and/or tidal constrained vessel turnarounds. In response to this, many operators have set up private arrangements at additional cost. They are concerned that the WDR proposal will make things more difficult for short sea operators. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) welcomed the proposal and was pleased to note the increased alignment with MARPOL requirements, but considered that a clearer link is needed to MARPOL discharge provisions and requirements, together with clear Port State Control.

5.19The Minister concludes with an update on timing. The Bulgarian Presidency is now seeking to agree a General Approach at the 7 June Transport Council. Negotiations will continue in the meantime and the Government hopes to achieve further improvements to the text. The Minister asks the Committee to consider waiving the scrutiny reserve to allow the UK to support a “balanced” General Approach at the Council. The European Parliament is also considering this proposal and is currently expected to reach its first reading position in October.

Previous Committee Reports

Sixteenth Report HC 301–xvi (2017–19), chapter 6 (28 February 2018).


37 Letter from Nusrat Ghani to Sir William Cash dated 4 May 2018.




Published: 29 May 2015