Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Twenty-Eighth Report



APPENDIX 1

Memorandum from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY OBLIGATIONS (PACKAGING WASTE) (AMENDMENT) (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2002 (S.I. 2002/732)

1. The Department wishes to apologise to the Committee for breaking the 21 day rule in relation to these Regulations. The Regulations were laid on [Monday 18 March] and they came into effect on [Tuesday 19 March] 2002. The Regulations provide for recovery and recycling targets to be used in 2002 by businesses obligated under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 (as amended). These Regulations set out various obligations on producers, including recovery and recycling obligations. Recovery and recycling obligations are imposed on producers to enable the United Kingdom to attain the recovery and recycling targets for Member States set our in article 6(1) of Directive 94/62/EC. The new target figures are necessary to enable the United Kingdom to sustain at least the minimum recovery level for packaging waste required under Directive 94/62/EC. It is highly unlikely that, if last year's target figures were to be used by producers, the United Kingdom would sustain in 2002 the minimum packaging waste recovery level required under Directive 94/62/EC.

2. The amended Regulations have been made in accordance with the power provided in sections 93 and 94(1)(c) of the Environment Act 1995 for the Secretary of State to make provisions imposing producer responsibility obligations and make provisions with respect to the targets which are to be achieved with respect to the proportion of the products or materials to be recovered or recycled.

3. The producer responsibility obligations in the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997, as amended, apply in relation to a calendar year. In order to establish how much packaging waste is to be recovered and recycled throughout a year, a business must calculate its obligation based on class of producer, the amount of packaging handled by the business in the previous calendar year and the current year's target figures. Data on packaging handled, and the associated calculation of obligations, is to be provided to the Environment Agency by 7 April. The new target figures are therefore required as soon as possible to allow obligated businesses to carry out the requisite calculations and provide data to the Environment Agency. If the targets in the Regulations are not amended, businesses will use the existing target figures to calculate their obligations. If these Regulations do not come into force as soon as possible and before 7 April, obligated businesses would then have to resubmit information to the Agency.

4. Under section 93(2) of the Environment Act 1995 there is a statutory requirement to consult on Regulations made under sections 93-95 of that Act. A consultation on targets for 2002 was carried out in 2001.

5. The Regulations were not made and laid sooner because the data used to inform the targets discussed in the consultation paper was preliminary data only, as full data had not been supplied by industry. For the targets to be based on the most robust data available, and therefore correspond more closely to the likely obligated packaging tonnage in 2002, the Department had to await the updating of the data supplied by industry before revisiting the figures which underpinned the targets in the consultation paper. The data was not finalised until December 2001. Consideration of the proposed targets by the relevant Government Departments was therefore not possible sooner.

Further memorandum from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY OBLIGATIONS (PACKAGING WASTE) (AMENDMENT) (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2002 (S.I. 2002/732)

1. This memorandum responds to the request by JCSI for further information on the coming into force of these Regulations in advance of the 21 day praying period.

2. These Regulations were laid on 20 March and came into effect on 21 March. The Regulations provide for recovery and recycling targets to be used in calendar year 2002 by businesses obligated under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 (as amended). These Regulations place obligations on producers, including recovery and recycling obligations, to enable the United Kingdom to attain the recovery and recycling targets for Member States set out in EC Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste 94/62/EC. The target levels of recovery and recycling to be met under this Directive by 2001 must be sustained in 2002.

3. The obligations placed on producers are to be discharged within the obligation year which runs from 1 January to 31 December. Targets for year should therefore be in place by 1 January in that year as the targets are used by each business to calculate a recovery and recycling obligation to be discharged that year. The tonnage obligations and data on packaging handled by the business are to be submitted to the relevant Agency by 7 April each year. Up to 14,000 businesses are affected.

4. Although businesses were able to plan provisionally for the 2002 targets on the basis of first, the proposals in the Government's consultation document issued in September, 2001 and second, the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Packaging, they did not have the actual 2002 targets until the amending SI 732 was in place. Given the deadline of 7 April for the submission of data, for which the targets are necessary, it was important to get the targets into effect as quickly as possible. Had the 2002 targets not come into force on 21 March (before the deadline for data submission) but three weeks later (11 April), businesses would have calculated obligations and submitted data using an assumed target, in order not to miss the 7 April deadline (failing to submit by this date is an offence). They would then have had to redo the calculations and re-submit data using the correct targets. Having SI 732 come into force immediately, although this broke the 21-day rule, meant that the large number of businesses and schemes affected by the Regulations were saved from having to carry out data calculations twice.

5. Calculating recovery and recycling targets for 2002 was complicated by two particular factors: first, the continued absence of a proposal from the European Commission for the targets to be set in the Packaging Waste Directive for 2006; this meant that we did not know what objective was to be attained in the 2002-2006 period. Second, data provided by obligated businesses each year provides the basis upon which to calculate forward years' targets. Data received from business in 2002 was only finalised late in the year and the targets initially proposed by Ministers was based on interim results. Final data was received in early December and because this had changed from the earlier figures, calculations had to be redone. DEFRA Ministers wrote to ENV Committee colleagues on 12 December proposing targets that this Department considered were necessary in 2002 to sustain at least the minimum level of 50% recovery required under Directive 94/62/EC. The proposal was not agreed by all colleagues and Ministers wrote again on 23 January. Further discussions took place between Departments which led to the round-up letter from the Deputy Prime Minister confirming the 59% target for 2002 being sent round on 18 March. The SI was made on the same day and laid on 20 March.

6. In conclusion, the Department believed that, in view of the time it had taken to reach agreement within Government, it was important both in terms of possible costs to industry, and in terms of achieving compliance in 2002, to bring the new targets into effect without delay. The Department regrets any discourtesy to the House that this approach may have seemed to suggest.

 


 
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