Importing and exporting waste from 1 January 2021

Guide

Last updated 10 December 2020

From 1 January 2021 there will be new arrangements for the movement of waste between GB and the EU.

Notified waste shipments from GB to the EU from 1 January 2021

The UK is a party to the Basel Convention and a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The UK will be treated in 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’ll need to make yourself aware of the EU customs guidelines and the EU Waste Shipment Regulations.

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, if requested (if exporting through a German Customs Office, a copy of the waste movement document must always be provided)
  • GB exporters to check that any transport of waste within the EU is carried out by an appropriately authorised waste carrier

Some EU Member States require shipments of waste to enter, or exit, though a designated Customs Office. You’ll need to check the list of designated customs offices in EU Member States.

You’ll need authorisation for each EU country you transport waste through or into, as acceptance of waste carrier registrations can vary between countries. Requirements can differ for waste carriers from outside the EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) area.

Contact the authority responsible for waste in the country you’re transporting waste to or through to find out about the authorisation process.

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.

Waste shipments from the EU to GB from 1 January 2021

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

The rules for shipping non-notified waste for recycling under the Green List Control procedures will stay the same.

If you’re a GB business and want to import waste from the EU to the GB, you should be aware of the:

The rules require:

  • waste exporters to complete waste notification and waste movement forms with details of the Customs Office of Exit from the EU, if relevant
  • waste carriers to provide a copy of the waste movement document to the Customs Office of Exit from the EU, if requested (if importing from Germany, a copy of the waste movement document must always be provided to the German Customs Office of Exit)
  • GB exporters to check that any transport of waste within the EU is by appropriately authorised waste carriers

Waste shipments from NI to GB

There will be no changes to the controls on the transport of waste from Northern Ireland to GB at the end of the transition period.

Waste shipments from NI to EU

There will be no change to the controls on the transport of waste from Northern Ireland to the EU at the end of the transition period.

Waste shipments from GB to NI

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, the Northern Ireland Protocol (the Protocol) will come into force at the end of the transition period.

Under the terms of the Protocol, Northern Ireland will continue to apply the EU Regulation on Waste Shipments. This means that EU waste shipment controls will apply to the transport of waste from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. This includes the system of prior informed consent for notifiable waste.

Legislation which will give effect to these requirements will be brought forward shortly. Further guidance on the timing for when these controls will be enacted will be published shortly.

If you plan to transport waste from GB to Northern Ireland in 2021 you should start preparing now.

Once these controls come into force, if you move waste from GB to NI you must complete movement documentation depending on what the waste material is.

You will no longer use hazardous waste consignment notes or written information / waste transfer notes. The controls that apply to your waste shipment will depend on the:

  • treatment planned for the waste when it reaches its destination
  • country of destination and the transport route
  • waste type

Knowing this information will allow you to decide if your waste shipment:

  • is prohibited
  • requires prior notification and consent from the competent authorities concerned (also known as notification controls)
  • can occur under Article 18 controls (also known as Green List controls)

Further guidance will be published as soon as possible for operators affected by these changes. In the meantime, for any questions about the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol please contact: WasteMovements@defra.gov.uk