UK court judgement on waste in dispute

Authorities contradict metals industry claim of "victory" in waste definition tussle

UK environmental authorities have reacted with disbelief to a claim made by the metals industry to have won a major victory following a court action taken against the Environment Agency of England and Wales (ENDS Daily 12 October). According to official sources interviewed by ENDS Daily, a High Court judgement given on Monday has totally vindicated the agency's position, while the metals industry won no changes at all. Supported by the British Metals Federation (BMF) and other UK and EU trade associations, a major UK metals processing company had asked the court to rule on whether four categories of material should be classified as waste or not. As we reported yesterday, the court ruled that three of the categories (scrap metal destined for treatment or processing, scrap metal contaminated with oil and cutting fluids and loads of scrap containing small amounts of foreign matter) should continue to be treated as waste in line with current UK and EU policy. Scrap metal "requiring no further processing" should not be defined as waste, the court said. However, this was already the legal position in the UK, in conformity with EU law and recent European Court of Justice judgements, sources told ENDS Daily today. The BMF's claim that 10m tonnes of processed metals would no longer be regarded as waste was "gross misrepresentation," they said. "They are not in the system at the moment so there is no question of taking them out." Officials at the BMF were unavailable for comment today.

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