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What will Brexit mean for waste laws?

As the United Kingdom edges closer to leaving the European Union, the impact it will have upon the country’s people and businesses is becoming clearer. Negotiations are ongoing, but whether a withdrawal deal is reached with the EU or not, the consequences could be huge for people in all walks of life and in industries around the country.

In a Notice to Stakeholders published this month, the European Commission outlined the changes to waste and recycling laws that Brexit will cause. If no agreement otherwise is reached, the 30th March 2019 will see the UK would become a “third country” – a term used to describe a country that is not part of the EU. EU waste laws will therefore cease to apply to the UK, which will have a number of what the EC describes as “legal repercussions”.

Perhaps most notably, EU countries will no longer be able to export any waste to the UK for disposal, nor will they be able to export mixed municipal waste for recovery operations. Exports from the UK to the EU will be subject to the Basel Convention, a United Nations treaty governing waste movement and disposal to which there are 187 parties across the world, including the EU itself.

The EC also notes that, if consents and notifications have been sought or acquired before the withdrawal, relevant exports to the EU will likely require new notifications or an additional set of documents, such as stamped copies of documents from the UK’s regulatory authorities.

Overall, it is clear at this stage that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will have a number of impacts on the way waste is imported and exported, especially concerning the types of waste available for import and the ease with which the UK is able to export to EU countries.

For more information on waste management or our range of site services, please get in touch with the Acumen team on 01977 529586 or via email at

Head Office, Knottingley

Acumen House, Headlands Lane, Knottingley, West Yorkshire, WF11 0LA

Phone: 01977 529586


Acumen Waste Services, Tame Road, Middlesbrough, TS3 6LL

Phone: 01977 529586

West Midlands

Acumen Waste Services, Lincoln Street, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, WV10 0DX

Phone: 01902 352100

York - Escrick

Acumen Waste Recovery Park, The Old Brick & Tile Works, YO19 6ED

Phone: 01977 529586


No 2 East Site, East Terminal, Immingham Dock, Immingham

Phone: 01977 529586


Keighley Office, Newbridge Industrial Estate, Pitt Street, Keighley, West Yorkshire BD21 4PQ

Phone: 0845 600 3572

York - Harewood Whin

Liquid Treatment Plant, Harewood Whinn, Tinker Lane, Rufforth, York, YO2 3RR

Phone: 01977 529586