Updated rules for Illegal waste shipments

Draft EU rules that would require EU member states to clamp down on illegal waste shipments within the EU and to non-EU countries were backed by the Environment Committee on Wednesday. These rules, informally agreed with EU ministers, would close legal loopholes and entail more inspections. Member states would have to include in their inspection plans a minimum number of physical checks, and inspectors would be given more powers.

The draft Waste Shipment Regulation (WSR) aims to reinforce the inspection provisions of existing legislation with stronger requirements on national inspections and planning. Member states would be required to carry out risk assessments for specific waste streams and sources of illegal shipments and to set out their priorities in annual inspection plans. Inspectors would be empowered to demand evidence from suspected illegal waste exporters.
The WSR lays down rules for waste shipments both within the EU and between the EU and third countries. It specifically prohibits exports of hazardous waste to countries outside the OECD and exports of waste for disposal outside the EU/EFTA.
However, illegal waste shipments remain a serious problem. Member states are responsible for enforcing the WSR. A few of them have thorough, well-functioning inspection systems, but others lag behind. This leads to “port hopping” by illegal waste exporters seeking to export waste from those with the most lenient practices.
The text will be put to a vote by the full House at the 14-17 April plenary session in Strasbourg. The new regulation would apply from 1 January 2016.


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