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Repic ordered to pay full costs to BIS, EA and SEPA

Waste electrical and electronic equipment compliance scheme Repic has been ordered to pay full costs, to the defendants in the judicial review that the Government won this year.

Last week the judge involved in the judicial review case ordered Repic to pay full costs accrued during the legal process by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

The order came following Repics decision not to appeal Mr Justice Wyn Williams decision (31 July) that the UKs regulations governing the collection, treatment and recycling of electrical and electronic equipment are lawful and entirely consistent with the European Union Directive (see MRW story).

According to media reports, full costs are believed to amount to as much as £1 million. However, the costs have not been confirmed by all parties involved.

Environment Agency policy advisor Adrian Harding said: We have been awarded full costs and that reinforces the fact that the court found in our favour and confirmed our understanding of the regulations. The WEEE Regulations are delivering important environmental outcomes. Less used electrical equipment is going to landfill as more is diverted for re-use and recycling.

Repic chief executive Dr Philip Morton told MRW: We believe our decision to instigate the judicial review has been vindicated as it was confirmed that over-collection is unlawful, is a breach of the regulations and a criminal offence, which was the ruling we wanted.

There is now the clarity we believe was needed to ensure all parties collect or make arrangements to collect WEEE that is equivalent to their obligation. We therefore believe the investment in time and cost has been well made and will limit the opportunism that was undermining the WEEE system."

Repic took the Government to court because it claimed that it was failing to close loopholes in the system and take action against over-collecting schemes. Repic also claimed that the WEEE Regulations were unlawful as they fail to provide any mechanism to prevent schemes from charging excessive prices for evidence notes at the end of each compliance period.

The judge ruled that producer compliance schemes should have viable plans to collect an equivalent amount of WEEE to that for which it is financially responsible and not ignore those plans and collect more (or less) than the plans specify when there is no need to do so in order to comply with its obligations. 

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