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Defra to consult again on ‘portable’ battery definition

Defra has delayed the publication of guidance on a new definition of portable batteries after a data error used in its consultation.

Defra says it will carry out another consultation early next year into what constitutes a portable battery.

The original consultation in September proposed the introduction of a 3kg weight threshold. Amended guidance was scheduled for October and due to take effect from 1 January 2014.

But the department now says there had been an “error in the supporting data” of the consultation document.

“Taking into account the consultation responses received thus far, Defra is in the process of revising the consultation document and costs analysis on the proposed changes to the definition of a portable battery,” said the department in a statement posted on the Environment Agency’s website, where the consultation had been hosted.

Defra estimated the introduction of a weight threshold would increase costs for producers by around 50% from an average of £945 per tonne to £1,400 per tonne.

Compliance scheme Budget Pack said it had highlighted inconsistencies in the data used during the consultation process.

Robbie Staniforth, key account specialist at Budget Pack, said: “We’re glad to hear that the government has listened to us and not rushed the final decision. We released a successful survey to obtain feedback from our members earlier this year and will be doing the same once the new consultation is released in springtime.”

Defra said it was planning to launch a new consultation in Spring 2014, and that the industry should continue to use the current guidance.

MRW has asked Defra to comment on the details of the error.

Amendment 21 November: The original article said that the Environment Agency (EA) carried out the consultation. A spokesperson for the EA told MRW that the consultation had “simply been hosted on part of the EA’s website”, but was led by Defra.


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