Defra has opened a consultation on several proposed amendments to the 2013 WEEE Regulations.
While the need to consult is led by the requirement to make changes as part of Open Scope requirements in the EU WEEE Directive, there are a number of other topics the government are looking to make progress on in the following three areas:
Mandatory Producer Balancing System
The Producer Balancing System (PBS) was setup by a group of compliance schemes to ensure Local Authorities receive timely collections of WEEE from their sites in the UK and that the associated costs are split fairly. It was a response to WEEE stacking-up at Local Authority sites that did not have a partnership with a compliance scheme. The PBS has been popular with Local Authorities, with many requests being submitted since its inception last year. However, some compliance schemes chose to avoid their share of the costs by not joining.
There has been concern from industry about the integrity and longevity of a system that does not include all compliance schemes, and by association, all UK producers. Defra is looking to address imbalances in the system by making membership of the PBS a statutory requirement for compliance schemes.
Open Scope will mean the inclusion of many different types of electrical equipment not previously covered by the existing categories, but it could also mean the reduction in reporting categories from 14 to 6. The three potential options proposed for the categorisation of EEE and WEEE by Defra are:
- Do nothing - Allow the existing WEEE Regulations to take effect, with the requirement to categorise and report EEE and WEEE in the six revised categories
- Amend the 2013 WEEE Regulations to retain the current system of 14 categories with new flexibility to allocate products previously out of scope to one of the 14 categories
- Amend the 2013 WEEE Regulations to move to the six categories, but utilising three additional sub-categories
Environment Agency fees
The Environment Agency have also undertaken a review of their operations and found that they are under-recovering costs associated with the WEEE regulations. This autumn they will be consulting on changes to fees to address the funding gap that has appeared since the last review, which reduced costs for small producers.
With equivalent bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland unlikely to change their fees, Defra has also proposed that registration fees for producers “should be allocated to the regulator in the nation in which that producer is based”. Defra are looking avoid the prospect of “compliance tourism” that could result in producers choosing to register in a nation with lower fees.
Have your say
You can have your say by responding directly to the consultation, which closes on 8 December 2017. Alternatively if you would like to feedback to us so that we can include your comments in our response, or would like to know more about how these consultations could affect you, please get in touch by calling on 0333 4330 370 or emailing email@example.com.
Innovation and policy director
Robbie is innovation and policy director at Ecosurety. Having spent years building an intimate understanding of the industry’s policies and politics, he uses this knowledge to help shape new legislation and oversees Ecosurety’s growing portfolio of cross-industry innovation projects including Podback and the Flexible Plastic Fund. He has worked closely with Defra during the most recent packaging consultations, outlining the impacts and required transitional arrangements of the UK’s new EPR system and is a member of the government’s Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP). He is also a spokesperson for the company and regularly uses his influence to communicate the importance of environmental responsibility to external stakeholders.