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Brexit: “Financial and policy uncertainty ahead” for the UK waste industry

Chartered Institution of Wastes Management

2 min read Partner content

The UK waste industry will be plunged into financial, policy and legal uncertainty, say trade groups in the sector, as Britain votes to leave the European Union.

Responding to referendum outcome, Resources & Waste UK (R&WUK) has said the sector must now look to engage with Government and key stakeholders to ensure a robust future UK policy framework for resources and waste.

“EU legislation has been a key driver behind the UK’s rapid progress on sustainable resource and waste management over the last two decades and the referendum outcome leaves our sector particularly exposed to the financial and policy uncertainty ahead,” said R&WUK chief executive Steve Lee.

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) also confirmed that today’s result was not what its members, or many environment sector professionals, had wanted.

“While it was conspicuously absent from the respective referendum campaigns, there is no hiding from the fact that EU membership has been a strong positive force for the quality of our environment, and the associated benefits for our health, well-being, jobs, skills, growth and general sustainability,” Lee said, who is also chief exec of CIWM.

“Stepping out of the EU brings financial, policy, legal and performance uncertainty which may well threaten a slowdown or reversal of the improvements we have enjoyed in recent years. As sustainable resources and waste management professionals, as an Institution, and as an industry we must now work together to build on what has been achieved to date.”

What isn’t uncertain, however, is the direction of travel. Lee explained the imperative to move towards greater resource efficiency and security, and to develop more circular economic models of resource consumption, remains critical to the long term future of the UK.

“Our sector needs to keep its eyes on the prize,” said the chief exec, “and realise its potential as an industry that not only underpins sustainable economic growth, jobs and business competitiveness but also protects our environment and contributes to the health and wellbeing of our communities.”

In the coming months, R&W UK aims to work with all the necessary stakeholders and government to ensure that the policy and investment needs of the industry are recognised, and to deliver the maximum environmental and economic benefit for the UK in the future.

“As far as the CIWM is concerned,” Lee added, “there has never been a more important time for our industry to work together and to use our body of knowledge and expertise to help influence and deliver a new environmental vision for our country.”

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