Following the Portable and Automotive/Industrial Battery workshops held by Defra in January to discuss the draft EU Batteries Regulation and gain views on its implication for the UK’s approach to regulatory reform, Defra has recently held two further workshops. Papers outlining some discussion points were issued in advance of each workshop, and Defra has invited feedback on these. Discussion points include whether:
- Further chemistry reporting would be beneficial, both for placed on the market and collection data;
- Portable waste battery collection targets should be set by chemistry;
- Producers should fund the sampling of household residual waste to ascertain the amount of waste portable batteries in it;
- Producers should fund local authority kerbside collection of portable batteries;
- Producers should be required to collect automotive and/or industrial waste batteries from end user sites; and
- There should be a DRS type system for automotive and/or industrial waste batteries, and/or a backstop system.
REPIC is working with the Joint Trades Association to submit a response to the discussion papers.
Defra is still considering how to proceed regarding the requirement for the EC Batteries Directive, and once finalised, its successor EC Batteries Regulation, to still operate in Northern Ireland. Defra’s current view is that the placing on the market provisions will need to follow EC legislation, however a UK wide approach will be taken in relation to waste batteries.
Finally. Defra has advised the consultation on potential changes to the UK Batteries Regulation is likely to be published towards the end of the year.
The consultations on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), Consistency in Collections and a Deposit Return System (DRS) for single use drinks containers have now closed. Defra is analysing the responses received and whilst no formal dates have been announced we understand a further update on the Government’s plans for each area will be provided later in the year.
HMRC has recently published updated guidance for producers on the operation of the Plastic Packaging Tax that will be introduced in April 2022. This provides greater detail on the types of plastic packaging subject to the tax, including single-use products, such as carrier bags, sandwich bags and disposable cups. The updated information is in section 2 of the guidance. HMRC advises it is looking to follow-up this guidance with other materials to help aid understanding on the types of plastic packaging subject to the tax. At the same time HMRC also published draft secondary legislation for technical consultation. This legislation amends the meaning of a plastic packaging component and clarifies who the taxable business will be by further defining when the last substantial modification takes place. The consultation closes on 17th August. Further information can be found in our REP-ACT-0205 email dated 30th June.
Defra has recently advised that the forthcoming consultation on the WEEE Regulations, which will cover the implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for WEEE, is likely to be published in October 2021. We have provisionally scheduled a scheme member meeting to take place on 3rd November, when we will run through the important points in the consultation and highlight areas that we recommend you consider for your response.
The consultation is likely to be formed of three parts:
- Policy proposals, which will be reflected in the Impact Assessment published with the consultation. These could include:
- Defra’s definition of full net cost – the costs to be borne by producers under EPR;
- The requirement for producers to fund local authority kerbside collection of household WEEE;
- Obligations for retailers to take-back large items of WEEE free of charge on home delivery of new EEE; and
- The introduction of producer obligations for online marketplaces that facilitate the sale of EEE from non-UK based businesses.
- Defra seeking views on policy areas under consideration, which could include:
- How producer obligations could work under EPR, including the role of targets;
- Ways to improve the WEEE collection infrastructure, including treatment standards and material recovery;
- Reform of the B2B system; and
- The need for a central administrative body to co-ordinate some system activities.
- Technical revisions to enhance the operation of the Regulations.
We will provide further information on the consultations as soon as it is available. In the meantime, we continue to work with the Joint Trades Association to develop the case for appropriate changes to each regime.