European policies on waste have been essential for improved resource efficiency, recycling and environmental protection in the UK, the Environmental Services Association (ESA) has said.
Defra- and DECC-led consultation, which closed on 12 August, sought views on how EU regulations affected UK environment policy and the economy and is part of a wider Whitehall consultation on the balance of powers between the EU and Britain.
Respondents were asked whether law prompted by Brussels had benefited or disadvantaged the UK, and whether the country could take alternative approaches to implement EU directives.
In its submission, the ESA said that the influence of EU policies on the domestic waste and resource management sector in particular had been positive.
Matthew Farrow, director of policy, said: “There are good grounds for believing that, without the impetus of EU waste legislation, successive UK governments would have lacked the political will to have taken the steps necessary to achieve the significant improvements in resource efficiency, recycling and environmental protection which the UK has seen in the last 15 years.”
However, he added that member states had to be free to decide how best to meet the agreed objectives in their countries and the EU should not seek to over-prescribe how requirements are implemented locally.