At the House of Commons meeting which Environment Minister Dan Norris and Shadow Minister Anne McIntosh attended, the BMRA outlined four key areas in its Agenda for Change where it hopes to win government support so the sector can increase the contribution it makes to the country’s economic and environmental ambitions.
The issues under discussion are:
- Reclassifying recovered metals as secondary raw material rather than waste by adopting the End of Waste Framework Directive in order to cease the “unnecessary burden of waste shipment regulations”
- Revising the draft regulations on exemptions from environmental permitting
- Proportionate application of regulations, focusing on the proposed Carbon Reduction Commitments and Industrial Emissions Directive
- Increases in the capacity available to scrap yards, allowing them to expand their premises and production.
Dan Norris was supportive of the proposed measures and spoke of it needing a “team effort”. He said: “I think we are singing from the same hymn sheet. Regulatory controls are there for good reason but we want them to be proportionate. There is therefore a challenge for us to meet these demands so the UK can recover more than anyone else.”
BMRA director Ian Hetherington said: “Obviously the effect of inaction would vary from action point to action point but the UK would fail to meet European recycling targets for End of Life Vehicles for 2015 and fail to capitalise on the opportunity for the UK to be the lead in certain areas for materials recovery. We do have the lead, certainly in Europe and if the Government doesn’t help we would lose that.”
Now, the BMRA will be working with politicians and policy-makers to develop proportionate and risk-based approaches to regulation; develop consistent regulatory enforcement; and explore opportunities for increasing capacity by addressing planning and land use technologies. It also hopes to incentivise investment in research and development of post-shredder technologies and investigate the potential of using energy from waste to divert residual waste from landfill. The reclassification of waste through the revised EU Waste Framework Directive is expected to come into force next year.
Metals recyclers contribute £5 billion each year to the UK’s balance of payments.