Correspondence from Dixons Group plc to
the Minister for Local Government and the Regions, 19 October
I am writing to draw your attention to the highly
damaging effect of new regulations governing the storage and disposal
of white goods on local authorities' waste reduction strategies.
As I am sure you are aware, from January 2002
the government intends to implement phase two of the EC Regulation
2037/2000 governing the disposal of products containing CFCs.
Phase two requires the removal of CFCs from
the foam insulation in the walls and doors of fridges. At present
there are no extraction facilities to remove CFCs from foam in
the UK and it is unlikely that such facilities could gain necessary
planning and regulatory approvals and be built here in under a
As a result most contractors have given us notice
that they will cease to collect all end of life white goods appliances
from us from 30 November 2001.
At present Dixons Group collects 750,000 end
of life white goods appliances, fridges, freezers, cookers and
washing machines, from people's homes each year at no cost to
the consumer. Were we to cease this collection service consumers
would have to rely on local authorities who have a statutory obligation
to collect or receive such domestic waste.
The Local Government Association and many of
their members have confirmed to us that withdrawal of retail collection
services would create a major burden for local authorities, both
in terms of having to offer a replacement collection from homes
and the likely increased incidence of fly-tipping with consequent
environmental problems. We are working with DTI, DEFRA and Environment
Agency officials as part of the fridge destruction group but remain
concerned that the impact of this directive on local authorities
has not been fully appreciated.
I understand that DEFRA are seeking to make
short-term provision for local authorities to cope with this additional
demand which could be generated as early as November 2001. I would
urge you to assist local authorities in ensuring that a cost-free
disposal route is maintained by enabling local authorities to
take these products from retail collection systems without charge.
We are anxious to ensure that any new system
set in place to manage the collection of fridges and payment of
sub-contractors minimises bureaucracy and does not create incentives
We would be happy to brief you further on this