Implementation of the Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive has been delayed until January 2006.
The Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) has confirmed the law will come into force some five months after the deadline of August 13 this year.
And the DTI has abandoned the National Clearing House (NCH) in favour of a no-frills, state-run implementation system (as exclusively revealed by MRW).
This would have given industry a year to understand the regulations before they became law. But the DTI has confessed that all those affected by the law will remain unaware of its contents until this summer, just six months before its implementation.
In a letter to producers, retailers, collectors and recyclers, DTI WEEE implementation officer Chris Tollady said: "In common with many other EU member states, the Government has encountered major practical difficulties in meeting the directive's legal deadline of August 13, 2005, for implementation of its obligations on producers and retailers."
The NCH — a call-centre putting collectors in touch with recyclers and calculating how much producers of WEEE should pay according to market share — was at the heart of the Government's draft WEEE Regulations.
However, the Government now expects that the Environment Agency will register producers, with the DTI then establishing an allocation of WEEE market share and financial responsibility to producers.