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UK first in EU to transpose WEEE Directive

Legislation setting out the recast of the WEEE Directive has been launched in Parliament by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The regulations will come into effect in the UK from 1 January 2014.

In October BIS said it would introduce a system based on ‘Option 3’ laid out in a WEEE Directive consultation, which sets collection targets for compliance schemes as well as a “compliance fee” if these targets are not met.

Lighting compliance scheme Recolight said the regulations contained some “important changes” for the lighting industry. Under the regulations companies placing less than five tonnes of equipment on the market can register directly with the Environment Agency for £30 a year.

Producers will also only be able to use “alternative arrangements” where there is a direct agreement between the producer and the business end user. 

Recolight said previously these kind of arrangements were used to pass responsibility for financing collection and treatment costs onto the business end user. 

It said: “Under the new regulations, producers cannot pass this duty to business end users if sales go through intermediaries (e.g. wholesalers or contractors).  This is of particular significance to the lighting industry, where many sales are through intermediaries.”

Recolight chief executive Nigel Harvey said: “The UK is the first EU member state to have transposed the recast WEEE directive into national law. 

“That is an excellent achievement for BIS – particularly given that some of the changes being made in the UK were far more wide ranging, and frequently more controversial than in most other member states. 

“The final outcome is a system that is fairer, will encourage higher recycling rates, and should ensure that the UK meets the targets laid down in the recast Directive.”

David Adams, managing director at compliance scheme Clarity Environmental, said the new regulations had a “common sense approach”.

He added: “We are pleased to receive the final regulations after months of uncertainty for both producers and compliance schemes.

“Unfortunately, there was conflicting information sent to producers prior to the draft regulations being published, which caused confusion for some. We are continuing to support our WEEE compliance members through these changes, ensuring that those affected remain fully informed throughout this process.

“We are supportive of any measures that will reduce the burden of compliance for small producers and the de minimis threshold will go some way to do this. However, we are getting feedback that many producers want to continue being part of a scheme, to allow them to gain assistance with their obligations.

“We will continue to work closely with our WEEE compliance members to offer them support throughout the changes.”


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