Guidance

Importing and exporting waste if there’s no Brexit deal

What UK waste importers and exporters must do to prepare for changes to rules around waste shipments if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

This guide explains how the controls for importing and exporting notified waste will change if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Rules after the UK leaves the EU

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK will become a third (non-EU) country.

You need to prepare for the following changes.

Consented notifications to ship waste between the UK and the EU

The UK government has secured an agreement that all UK consents for shipments of notifiable waste that go beyond 31 October 2019 will be rolled over.

This follows the process set out by the European Commission (EC) in the notice ‘Withdrawal of the UK and EU waste law’ issued on 8 November 2018.

Waste shipments from the UK to the EU

When we leave the EU, the UK will remain a:

  • party to the Basel Convention
  • member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The UK will be treated the same way as any other OECD country or any country party to the Basel convention that intends to export waste to an EU country. The current waste shipments procedures will still apply.

If you are an exporter, you will need to make yourself aware of the EU customs guidelines and the EU Waste Shipment Regulations. These explain the rules for EU waste imports from outside the EU.

They require:

  • waste exporters to complete waste notification and waste movement forms with details of the Customs Office of Entry into the EU and, if relevant, the Customs of Exit from the EU
  • waste carriers to provide a copy of the waste movement document to the Customs Office of Entry into the EU
  • UK exporters to check that any transport of waste within the EU is by appropriately authorised waste carriers

Before you submit a notification to export waste to the EU for disposal, the UK government must submit a duly reasoned request (DRR) to the relevant EU competent authority. The DRR must explain why the UK does not have, or cannot acquire the required disposal facilities. You will not be able to submit a notification to export until that DRR is approved. Exports of UK waste for disposal are prohibited, apart from a few exceptions. The impact of the new requirement to submit a DRR will therefore be minimal.

The rules for shipping waste for recycling under the Green Control procedures will stay the same.

Waste shipments from the EU to the UK

EU countries will not be allowed to export waste for disposal, or export mixed municipal waste for recovery, to the UK under EU law.

The rules for shipping waste for recycling under the Green Control procedures will stay the same.

If you are a UK businesses and want to import waste from the EU to the UK, you should be aware of the:

Published 11 February 2019
Last updated 4 March 2019 + show all updates
  1. Guidance updated following agreement from the Spanish government to roll over all notified waste shipments from the UK to Spain.
  2. First published.