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Somerset company hit for unpaid packaging levies

A Somerset-based company has been fined £14,386 for failing to pay two years worth of levies on the amount of packaging it produces.

Cooper B-Line is said to have saved nearly £3,000 on the card and wooden pallet packaging it sells its metal cabinets for computers and other electronic products in.

Companies that own or supply over fifty tonnes of packaging each year and have a turnover of over £2 million have to register under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997.

They must then pay for the packaging to be reprocessed and provide paperwork to prove it. The Environment Agency (EA) contacted the company based at Walrow Industrial Estate, Highbridge and established it was not registered.

After negotiations, estimates were drawn up for the weight of packaging handled between 2002 and 2003, with it discovered the company had avoided costs of around £2,880 over the two years by not adhering to the regulations.

EA officer Mark Pritchard said: “Companies need to familiarise themselves with the legislation if they don’t want to end up in court.”

While the company has since joined the Valpak compliance scheme, its head office of 100 New Bridge Street, London appeared before Bridgwater magistrates and pleaded guilty to four charges under the Producer Responsibility Obligations Regulations and the Environment Act.

For the two offences of failing to register between 2002 and 2003 and a further two offences of failing to recover and recycle during the same period, the company was fined £3,400 for each offence and ordered to pay costs of £1,186.

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