MPs question whether proposed EU Packaging laws will lead to recycling differences between Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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MPs on the European Scrutiny Committee have asked for clarity from Environment Minister Rebecca Pow on how a new EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive will affect the recycling of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol agreed between the EU and the UK Government as a result of Brexit, Northern Ireland must remain aligned with the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.

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Although the UK is already regulating in some areas covered by the proposed Directive, there are some that will need to be implemented in Northern Ireland.

These include measures to tackle unnecessary packaging, to improve labelling for consumers and to boost the composting of packaging where that is not feasible.

MPs have therefore asked the Government to reference each chapter of the EU’s packaging waste proposals and to set out policies that are either in place or under development across the UK. This will help to identify the implications of the proposal for Northern Ireland and the UK internal market.

In an Explanatory Memorandum, Rebecca Pow suggested that the implications for the UK and the rest of Northern Ireland, especially intra-UK divergence, need to be assessed.

She added that she expected UK companies will want to conform with EU law to place products in its markets.