WEEE national allocation centre fails to get off the ground as talks stall

Talks have broken down surrounding the national allocation centre for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) which would of matched up producer compliance schemes with designated collection facilities.

The allocation centre was a concept being developed by the WEEE Schemes Forum (WSF) - a group of 19 approved producer compliance scheme members. Despite talks having reaching an advanced stage (see Feature, p18), the WSF has confirmed that the allocation system will not be in place for the initial compliance period under the WEEE regulations from 1 July 2007.

A spokesperson for WSF said: "The WSF has had to accept that there is insufficient time now available to realistically develop the proposed system and we have experienced difficulties in reaching a final common ground regarding the ultimate role, scope and detail of the proposed system that satisfied not only all individual members of the WSF but other parties too.

"Although this decision has been reached there is still hope within the WSF that there is possibly still a role for such as system in future compliance periods."

The proposed system would have ensured that all household WEEE streams separately collected at designated collection facilities (DCFs) were assigned to a producer compliance scheme (PCS) via a black box system. It aimed to match up DCFs and PCSs in a fair and equitable manner based on market share data, and was strongly supported by the DTI.

There are now fears that local authorities who have signed up to register their civic amenity sites as DCFs will face an unlevel playing field as the first batch of 37 approved PCSs look to target the sites with most potential.

This 'free-for-all' situation was one which the DTI was keen to avoid as smaller, more rural DCFs may be left unserved if PCSs decide to cherry-pick the most lucrative sites.

The WSF spokesperson added that the likely focus of the forum "will now switch towards various other key fundamental implementation issues that are still to be clarified under the regulations".

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