Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Letter from Biffa Waste Services Ltd to the Rt Hon Michael Meacher, MP, Minister of State (environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 17 July 2001


  You may be familiar with the current situation regarding a recent interpretation which implies that domestic fridges containing CFCs will be subject to the Ozone Depleting Regulations and are scheduled to come into force in the UK on 1 January 2002. This may appear as a relatively innocuous measure but in reality it is estimated that around 200,000 fridges per month will no longer be processed through car fragmentation plants since this will become illicit. I have written to retailers, manufacturers, relevant trade bodies and local authorities to elicit what their position is likely to be with regard to the management and funding of these regulations. Our conservative estimates cost this at around £30 per fridge—£6 million per month, £72 million annually.

  This parallels experience with abandoned cars which are now costing local authorities £80 million to £100 million per year to recover on the basis that the supply chain and the car scrap industry are unlikely to accept financial liability.

  There is a corresponding landfill ban in so far as landfill operators could be prosecuted for accepting these materials which may emit over decades in much the same way that methyl mercury may do from fluorescent lamps. Would it be possible to convene a round-table discussion involving the Treasury, local authorities, DEFRA, DTI and the Environment Agency so that we can develop an integrated framework whereby all the actors are aware of their correct parts and lines? We have an interest in providing the necessary investment in logistics and reprocessing infrastructure but we will not move forward unless there is an integrated approach with regard to the enforcement, planning and funding regime. I look forward to your observations.

cc: Paul Boateng MP

HM Treasury

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