DTI puts off WEEE problem for another year

The waste industry has welcomed the DTI's decision to postpone the implementation of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive.

Non-for-profit recycling body REPIC recently requested to delay the implementation date from August 2005 to some time next year (see related story), bringing the UK in line with competitors from other EU Member States.

Then, at the end of last week, Chris Tollady of the DTI confirmed to stakeholders in a letter that the WEEE Directive would now not be transposed into law in the UK this summer, but would not be implemented until summer 2006, one year later than planned.

Speaking on behalf of the industry, head of WEEE compliance at leading producer responsibility scheme Valpak Michael Sadler said that the DTI’s announcement was welcome as it gave a chance for greater clarity regarding some of the key issues covered by the directive, prior to its UK implementation.

“One of the greatest concerns has been the timeline, which was widely acknowledged to be unworkable, but the new schedule give us an extension which will allow industry to plan more effectively,” Mr Sadler stated.

“However, we still believe that this is an extremely challenging deadline, and full cooperation between government and industry will be required to achieve it.”

Following recommendations by members of the waste industry, the DTI also decided not to impose mandatory visible fees, as was outlined in the Government’s third WEEE consultation.

However, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Sue Doughty voiced her concerns that the Government still had not faced up to the problems posed by the directive’s implementation.

“I am relieved that the DTI have recognised the shortcomings of the scheme, but remain deeply concerned about their ability to put in place an acceptable alternative,” she said.

“It is a pity that while the industry has been keen to move forward in dealing with waste electrical equipment, they have been held back by delays and backtracking from the Government.”

By Jane Kettle

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