UK and Irish regulators say they’re united on tackling resource efficiency and waste management

The UK and Ireland’s environmental regulators say they have strengthened their collaboration on driving resource efficiency and tackling criminality within the waste industry, following a summit in Edinburgh on 17 November hosted by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

The meeting involved the Chief Executives from each of the five agencies – the Environment Agency (EA), Natural Resources Wales (NRW), the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and SEPA – and reinforces the extensive partnership working underway on key regulatory issues, such as Duty of Care and cross border transport of waste.

The five agencies share a common aim of protecting and improving the environment and creating the conditions for driving successful, sustainable economies, where resources are used efficiently in order to maximise their value and significantly reduce waste production.

Major topics discussed at the summit included, intelligence sharing, waste tracking and improving the quality of recyclate and explored the practical actions which would actively strengthen and support each agency to drive increased resource use and target non-compliant waste operations across the UK and Ireland.

Terry A’Hearn, Chief Executive of SEPA and Chair of the meeting, said:

“Co-operation is the key to tackling the biggest challenges facing our environment and while each of our agencies already work very closely across a wide spectrum of regulation, today’s meeting strengthens our approach and cements our commitment to creating a truly circular economy.

“The most successful businesses in the future will be those that are not just compliant, but which are also low carbon, low material use, low water use and low waste, ­seeing environmental excellence as an opportunity, not a problem.

“If, on the other hand, you have no interest in being careful with our finite resources, or [have] no care for the environment in the way you dispose of waste, you will find our resolve is strong. We will use our regulatory powers to make it tough for those with a poor attitude and poor performance.”