HC Deb 10 June 2002 vol 386 cc954-5W
Mr. Sayeed

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what new arrangements will be necessary to meet the recovery monitoring requirements outlined in the EU WEEE Directive; and if she will make a statement; [54557]

(2) if she will make a statement on the adequacy of recovery and recycling infrastructure in the UK in respect of EU Directives shortly to be introduced with specific reference to those dealing with (a) end of life vehicles, (b) waste electrical and electronic goods and (c) packaging waste; [54561]

(3) what assessment she has made of whether the new recovery and recycling facilities made necessary by the EU WEEE Directive will be in place by the time the legislation becomes UK national law. [54552]

Mr. Meacher

The Directive is still the subject of negotiation and, therefore the precise requirements in terms of collection, recovery and recycling are not yet known. The UK will have 18 months from the date the Directive is adopted to transpose the Directive into national law.

A substantial quantity of WEEE is currently recovered in the UK, particularly the larger items—white goods—such as fridges, cookers and dishwashers. There are adequate facilities for processing the existing disposals of WEEE through a wide range of re-use facilities, treatment sites and shredder operations licensed or registered exempt through the Environment Agency. These include community based refurbishment initiatives for household electrical items, scrap metal processors who take in white goods and shredders which take a range of WEEE in addition to white goods. Smaller items of WEEE, which generally have a high ratio of plastics to metal, are likely to prove the most challenging fraction of WEEE to collect and recycle.

We believe the existing recovery and recycling infrastructure will be adequate to meet the targets which are set in the End-of-Life Vehicles Directive. The UK has a long-established and extensive infrastructure for the dismantling, recovery and recycling of ELVs. The Environment Agency currently regulates around 3,500 sites that deal with ELVs. There may, however, need to be an expansion in the market for recycled material from ELVs; we therefore welcome the fact that the Directive encourages the use of such material in vehicle manufacture.

The European Commission has proposed a new Directive setting revised recovery and recycling targets for packaging waste for 2006. This is currently being considered by member states.