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Major body adds to concerns over viability of national clearing house

By Greg Pitcher

Fears have multiplied this week that the national clearing house would not be a viable way of implementing the Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive.

Leading compliance scheme Valpak added to concerns about the system at the heart of the Governments final draft of the electro-scrap law.

The Government has insisted the clearing house would have to register producers from January for the UK to hit its implementation deadline next August.

But Valpak agreed with the opinion voiced by trade body DARP Environmental last week that January registration would be impossible.

Valpak WEEE pre-compliance manager Michael Sadler said: While Valpak supports the principle of a national clearing house to manage data, there remain many practical difficulties with all the approaches so far.

We therefore think the timetable for implementation, which requires the legislation to be set by January 2005, is looking increasingly optimistic.

This is an extremely complex piece of legislation, which will have a huge impact on UK industry.

There appear still to be a number of critical issues where significant differences exist between sections of industry.

DARP managing director Lorie Randall told MRW the Government had secretly admitted to producers that it may not be able to implement the clearing house for legal reasons.

She claimed officials from the Department of Trade and Industry thought the contract to run the data nerve-centre could be ruled an illegal monopoly.

Randall added: We believe it is too late to push the necessary things through Parliament in time for registration to begin in January.

Valpak, a leader in the packaging waste compliance industry, launched a WEEE pre-compliance scheme in mid-September.

The company welcomed competition from trade association Gambica, which has gone one step further and started a full-on compliance scheme for the same business sector.

Gambica chief executive Geoff Young said: While the general focus of the debate has been on household-derived WEEE, there are enormous challenges to

be faced by the business-to-business sector. We have a wealth of experience.

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