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Option 3 favoured in draft WEEE regulations

The Government will introduce a system based on ‘Option 3’ in the WEEE consultation, according to a long-awaited draft of the WEEE regulations that has been published by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS).

Option 3 means collection targets will be set for compliance schemes, and there will be a “compliance fee” to pay if these targets are not met.

All producers must join a producer compliance scheme unless they place less than five tonnes onto the market each year.

Compliance schemes will be given a tonnage target by category of EEE placed on the market in proportion to the UK target and the total market share of their members during the previous compliance year.

In the industry response to the consultation published in August, Option 3 received substantial support across all stakeholder groups. Some 95% of respondents indicated it was either their first or second preference out of the four options put forward by BIS.

In the draft regulations, and in relation to the Red Tape Challenge, the Government has proposed:

  • a system based on Option 3 “Target and Compliance Fee” described in the consultation to start in 2014
  • a de-minimis threshold of five tonnes for small producers
  • an option for operators of Local Authority Designated Collection
  • facilities to retain responsibility for treatment of WEEE collection streams

In implementing the WEEE Recast Directive, BIS wants to:

  • create a new category for photo-voltaic panels
  • include LED lamp sources in category 13
  • continue to research the use of ‘substantiated estimates’ of WEEE arising outside the existing system
  • continue to engage with stakeholders about a system incorporating more individual producer responsibility

BIS also plans to introduce changes that will reduce regulatory burdens on business, for example removing the requirement for independent audits of treatment facilities.

In other areas, BIS proposes to:

  • defer changes to Powers of Entry provisions to ensure alignment with the wider Government review
  • defer changes arising from wider consultation on the Review of Producer Responsibility Regulations to ensure proper consultation on the issues that are directly relevant to the WEEE Regulations

BIS is seeking comments on the draft regulations by 1 November.

Business minister Michael Fallon said: “The regulations will reduce the cost of compliance for business, bring greater flexibility for local authorities and ensure we meet the requirements of the revised European legislation.

“The changes to the household WEEE collection system will put us on track to meet the higher collection targets agreed in Europe and drive up the quality of treatment in the UK.”

The WEEE consultation took place between 17 April and 21 June 2013, responding to minimum goals set out by the EU WEEE Recast Directive, which will come into force in January 2014. The waste electronic collection target will rise to 45% by 2016 and to 85% by 2019.

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