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Judicial review in favour of commingled waste

4th March 2013

Mr Justice Hickinbottom has dismissed the case brought against the government by members of the Campaign for Real Recycling (CRR) who claimed that Defra had wrongly transposed the terms of the revised Waste Framework Directive in allowing commingled waste collections in England and Wales.

A statement released by the claimant’s solicitors stated, “our clients sought a judicial review because it felt that the Waste (Amendments) Regulations 2012 did not accurately represent the EU Waste Framework Directive in UK law and was negatively affecting the quality of recycled material from UK household”.

The two year long case was centred on the interpretation of the requirement of Article 11 of the directive that “by 2015, separate collection shall be set up for at least the following: paper, metal, plastic and glass”. However this condition is subject to Article 10(2) which states that “waste shall be collected separately if technically, environmentally and economically practical”. Non-statutory guidance from the European Commission last summer also confirmed that commingled collections were acceptable as long as high quality recycling was delivered as a result.

Justice Hickinbottom ruled that the directive had been properly transposed into UK law. He concluded that separate collection was not possible in all circumstances throughout England and Wales and it was legally acceptable for decisions relating to the practicality of collections to be left to the discretion of local authorities.

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