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Government clarifies its position on WEEE ruling

The Government has written to all waste electrical and electronic equipment compliance schemes to respond to queries raised in relation to last months Repic judicial review ruling and to clarify its position.

WEEE compliance scheme Repic took the Government to court and claimed that the WEEE Regulations were unlawful and that the Government had behaved unlawfully in not taking enforcement action against schemes that had over collected WEEE. Last month, the High Court decided that the regulations were lawful and that the Government had not acted unlawfully (see MRW story).

The Environment Agency, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency has sent a letter (17 August) to all compliance schemes and part of its focus is on evidence trading notes.

In relation to evidence trading notes, the letter reiterates the Governments position and says: Schemes must assess with the greatest degree of accuracy possible the amount of WEEE they will need to meet their financing obligation when applying for approval, and for continuing approval and must make arrangements to collect or to have collected for them that amount of WEEE and detail those arrangements in their operational plan.

Trading of evidence should only be carried out at the margins, to correct minor unforeseen shortfalls or excess that arise due to the difficulty of schemes predicting their obligations precisely.

The letter goes on to state that significant deliberately planned shortfalls or excesses of WEEE with no collection arrangements in place will mean that the schemes plans are not viable.

The letter also states that trading of evidence on the Settlement Centre (initiative that
records evidence of WEEE treatment and to allow issuance and holdings of evidence notes to be monitored) is permitted only to correct minor mismatches between schemes financing obligations and their actual collections that result from the inability to be absolutely precise in predicting collection and financing obligations.

Under the WEEE Regulations producer compliance schemes work on behalf of manufacturers to collect WEEE evidence notes in order to show that they have met their obligations. Some producer compliance schemes may have a surplus of WEEE evidence notes because they collect more WEEE than others who have an undersupply. In order to balance the system they have to trade with each other.

The letter also states that a scheme could arrange to collect WEEE on behalf of another scheme, or have it collected on their behalf by another scheme. It also clarifies how schemes which are collecting WEEE from civic amenity sites on behalf of each other should report data on levels of WEEE collected and how it is treated to the councils involved.

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