EU membership offers clear benefits: UK waste organisations warning of a Brexit

Flagge Vereinigtes Königreich (Foto: ©Thommy Weiss /

Birmingham/ Swindon, UK – Several UK organisations are warning that progress made on environmental issues would be lost should the UK decide to leave the European union. Among them, the Resource Association believes that EU environmental legislation has been the major contributory factor to the growth and development of the UK recycling industry in the last twenty years and should remain integral to future industry development that both improves the environment and boosts the economy.

Much of the progress would be damaged or even lost

The Resource Association represents reprocessing and recycling companies and partners throughout the supply chain, handling more than 7 million tonnes of materials in the UK every year. Many of its members are major European and international companies with long established UK operations. Its Manifesto for Resources 2015 stated: “The EU has led on so much of the work that has delivered strong economic and environmental benefits in the waste and resources sector, and we urge UK politicians to stay the course and recognise these benefits that membership and continued active engagement in the European Union would bring.”

The Resource Association believes „that much of the progress that the UK has made on environmental issues more broadly and in resources and waste more specifically would be damaged or even lost in the event of a UK decision to exit from the EU but remain in the European Economic Area (EEA).“

The ability to trade freely across borders

In its January briefing to MPs last week, in which CPI, David Workman, Director General of the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI), set out the case for the UK remaining within a reformed EU. He stated that the position of the UK’s papermakers, converters and recyclers is in favour of the UK remaining within a reformed EU. The future of UK papermaking relies on continued capital investment, and a strength of the EU for our industry is the ability to trade freely across borders.

Should the UK leave the EU, it would cast doubts over free movement and regulatory frameworks. Exporters to the EU would still have to comply with a host of EU regulations and standards, and the UK industry would be projected into a period of uncertainty. „This is the type of business environment that deters investors, putting in jeopardy the 25,000 direct and 100,000 indirect jobs in the paper supply chain in the UK.“

British Plastics Federation: 78 percent are pro EU

The BPF’s latest Business Conditions Survey, which was carried out in January and February 2016, asked member companies if they thought the UK should remain a member of the EU or leave. Responding to this before the terms of the EU renegotiation was finalised, 8% of members felt the UK should leave the EU, 62% said that the UK should remain in the EU as currently constituted, 16% reported that they thought the UK should remain a member of the EU but that changes needed to be made and 14% stated they did not know.

Contributions to the health of the economy

The Welsh Local Government Association pledged its strong support for the UK to remain a member of the European Union. Having made a firm commitment to campaign for continued EU membership for the UK within its recently launched ‘Localism 2016-21’ manifesto, the WLGA believes that EU membership offers clear benefits for Wales in terms of economic well-being, significant inward investment and vitally important cultural links.

Councillor Bob Bright (Newport City Council), WLGA spokesperson on Europe, stated: “There are many reasons why local councils in Wales believe the UK should remain a member of the European Union. Wales makes a net gain financially from EU membership and this vital source of funding has enabled a wide range of projects to be delivered for the benefit of our local communities. These projects contribute to the health of the economy, support infrastructure and business and provide irreplaceable local opportunities for employment and training. There have also been programmes that have given vital support to the farming community and rural areas.“

And he added: ”The benefits for Wales of continued EU membership are greater than purely financial. We have much to learn from working together and we are able to influence policy that is of international significance.“

Source: Resource Association, Confederation of Paper Industries, Welsh Local Government Association