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Inquiry into WEEE fiasco

An inquiry could be held to look into the continuing delay of the implementation of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive in the UK.

It is understood that the Environment Select Committee is considering an inquiry into the handling of the directive, and the uncertainty that has caused, by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

This follows the announcement by the DTI in December that a further consultation would be held this Spring with a new date and programme for implementation due any time now. However, following meetings with stakeholders in January to review the situation, the DTI suggested that further announcements would be made this month, but as yet nothing has been heard.

This lack of communication is continuing to irritate members of the recycling and waste management industry who are having to pursue what they believe is the best course of action in a climate of uncertainty.

Environcom technical executive Jeff Weeks said: “We are now aware that the DTI have some resource in place to address the delays. However, more delays are unwelcome and if these occur it will be as a result of Government dragging its heels.”

According to Weeks the infrastructure is in place to manage the recycling of WEEE and EnvironCom is “very much on target” regardless of what the Government decides to do. However, he suggested that one of the issues still being pored over is for mechanisms for payment.

Weeks said that his company welcomes suggestions of an inquiry into the situation.

He added: “Industry heads need to be drafted in to assist the Government in order to move this along.”

The directive should have been implemented last August across the European Union, but only Germany and Ireland achieved this. The UK has now delayed implementation three times with June 2006 the last abandoned deadline. Industry experts are now expecting implementation sometime early in 2007 with January currently looking most likely.

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