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Cutting Red Tape: Review of the waste and recycling sector

15th March 2016

Melanie Harper

The BIS have released (7 March) the document ‘Cutting Red Tape: Review of the waste and recycling sector’ which suggests a stricter approach will be taken concerning how the UK implements EU waste legislation.

Headed by Rt. Hon. Matthew Hancock MP: Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General and Rory Stewart MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs, The Red Tape Review is part of a wider initiative to recognise savings of £10billion by cutting regulations and reviewing fire prevention, packaging, WEEE and waste definitions.

The document acknowledges a number of responses to the Cutting Red Tape review that questioned the timing of it as they feel the Environment Agency, at this time, should be enforcing its current regulatory framework to protect legitimate waste businesses. They also stated that responses to the initial consultation regarding the review raised issues around the impact, enforcement and operation of the current framework, highlighting that there is scope to make changes to regulations, helping businesses to both ‘grow’ and ‘innovate’.

Respondents also stated that the definitions of certain materials as waste create ‘additional burdens’. Because of this, Defra will now review and make the definition of ‘waste’ and ‘by-products’ clearer by March 2017. The document also acknowledges the important role of the regulators, but states that operators that demonstrate good and compliant behaviour should be recognised.


The Review has highlighted that many find Producer Responsibility Regulations for packaging and WEEE ‘overly burdensome, complex and costly’.

In response to this, it is expected that this industry would have significant intervention with plans to simplify much of the process and reduce the ‘burden’.

The PRN System

In terms of PRN’s, Defra are set to seek further balance in the packaging waste recovering note (PRN) system by aiming to increase transparency and reduce volatile prices.

This is off the back of concerns from some in the sector who state that although export PRNs are of the same value as domestic PRNs, it is easier to include non-eligible material in export grades.

EU Legislation

The review has also addressed concerns regarding the impact from EU legislation on UK waste law, stating:

The Government accepts and understands the frustrations that businesses feel about how the interpretation of EU Directives in UK law means that there is little or no flexibility in how they are complied with and therefore puts UK businesses at a disadvantage compared to competitors in other states.”

Separately the government is also considering the wider interpretation of EU Directives into UK Law and the findings from this review will help inform part of that process.”

Please click here to read the whole review document

Compliance and Comply Direct Our aim at Comply Direct is to support businesses with compliance and we pride ourselves on a personal service that is hassle free and cost-effective. The responses to the Red Tape Review concerning compliance, much like all customer feedback, is something Comply Direct aim to take on board in an effort to help change the view that compliance is a burden and continue to provide a supportive and financially viable service that is neither ‘burdensome, complex and costly’.

For further information about the Cutting Red Tape review, or to speak with one of our experts regarding compliance, please do not hesitate to get in touch.