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EU backs cross-border movements of waste

The European Commission has published new guidelines to maintain waste shipments across the EU while preserving a high level of protection for public health and the environment during the coronavirus outbreak.

In a briefing document, the EC says waste companies ‘provide an essential service even in these difficult times’. It is intended ‘to keep the green lanes for waste open so that it could be shipped without delay, become the resource for another industry or get its most appropriate treatment in the EU’.

In the EU, cross-border waste shipments are regulated by Regulation (EC) 1013/2006 on shipments of waste (the Waste Shipment Regulation or WSR). ‘For environmental, public health and economic reasons, it is essential that a common approach across EU Member States is pursued with a view to limiting disruptions of waste shipments,’ the guidelines state.

The new document provides guidance to competent authorities in member states, economic operators and all relevant stakeholders to pre-empt possible obstacles to cross-border movements of waste within the EU and facilitate the implementation of EU rules on waste shipments It explicitly states that the general principles relating to transport of goods also apply to shipments of waste.

The guidelines stress the principle that all EU internal borders should stay open to freight and that supply chains for essential products are guaranteed. Member states are asked to designate priority lanes for freight transport and these green lane border crossings should be open to all freight vehicles carrying any type of goods.

It is recommended that electronic procedures are used, as laid down in the WSR, and that electronic exchanges of documents and information, including digital signatures, are used and accepted by all competent authorities.

Read the entire document here.

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