Select Committee on European Union Forty-Seventh Report


Sub-Committee D's Call for Evidence

Sub­Committee D, under the Chairmanship of the Earl of Selborne, invites evidence to its new inquiry, which has the following terms of reference:

"To review developments in EU waste policy, from producer responsibility to integrated product policy, and to consider their contribution to improved and more sustainable waste management."

In the wake of recent developments in Community waste policy, the Commission has stated that it intends to "upgrade policy approaches on waste prevention" in its management strategy[79]. In parallel to work on implementation of agreed legislation, several strategies are in preparation which aim to take a more holistic approach to the problem of waste—looking at how to prevent it through design and technology as well as improving arrangements for final disposal.

The Development of Waste legislation

The Committee is interested in the development and implementation of current legislation such as the Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) and producer responsibility Directives (for example end of life vehicles (2000/53/EC) and waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) (COM(2000) 347)), and will consider whether they provide a sound basis for moving towards a more integrated life-cycle approach.

In particular the Committee will consider:

1.  How effective are current regulatory impact assessments by the Commission in assessing the capacity for implementing waste Directives, and how can cost benefit analysis be improved in the early stages of a proposal?

2.  How will the "extended impact assessment" process, part of the better regulation package[80], which is to be piloted this year on amendments to the batteries Directive (91/157/EEC), improve the situation?

3.  What is the appropriate stage for preparation and consideration of national impact assessments, to influence the debate and to ensure that assessments reflect the ability of individual Member States to meet commitments before they sign up to them in the Council?

4.  How far can costs be realistically assessed at the EU level, when proposals change significantly through co-decision, particularly when conciliation is involved?

5.  To what extent should amendments to legislation during its passage through the Community institutions be subject to some kind of cost benefit analysis?

6.  How should impacts be assessed for non-legislative initiatives such as work plans and where a larger amount of implementation detail is left to Member States under framework legislation?

7.  Could the UK be more proactive in influencing the development of EU policy? Do Government departments have access to the skills required?


Implementation of waste Directives has given rise to problems in several Member States, including the UK. Enlargement will make the situation even more complicated, since there will be derogations for the implementation of a number of Directives, including landfill. For legislation which has been agreed but not yet implemented at national level, such as the WEEE Directive, it is unclear whether derogations will be sought in these areas as well.

8.  How effective are UK Government departments and regulatory authorities in assessing the practical implications of forthcoming Community legislation and in working with industry and local authorities to address them?

9.  What lessons can be learned from past difficulties to improve the quality, timeliness and effectiveness of implementation?

10.  Does uneven implementation lead to problems of competition between Member States?

An evolving waste policy

11.  How is the whole lifecycle approach being designed to address current limitations of waste policy?

12.  With recent rapid development of EU waste policy, how is the move towards a full lifecycle approach likely to affect candidate countries? Is their capacity for implementation being adequately taken into account in the development of new approaches?

Relationship to current House of Commons inquiries

This inquiry is designed to complement inquiries by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee "Winning the War on Waste", and the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee "The Future of Waste Management: Moving up the Waste Hierarchy".

10 April 2003

79  Environment DG management plan 2003 Back

80  Commission Communication on Impact Assessment: 

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