HL Deb 28 November 2002 vol 641 cc57-8WA
Lord Harrison

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they support the introduction of the European Union directive concerned with the re-use and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment; what savings they expect, in terms of environmental benefit; and what might offset the predicted two per cent price rise of goods in the shops. [HL115]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville

The Government support the WEEE directive, which is a priority waste stream for the UK. It is growing fast and electronic equipment often contains hazardous substances. It is therefore right that action is taken to limit potential environmental damage.

DTI-commissioned research by PriceWaterhouseCooper shows that there will be significant environmental benefits from treatment, recycling and recovery of WEEE under the requirements of the directive, when compared to current practices, and especially with landfill.

The European Commission estimates that the costs of the directive will be equivalent to a 1 to 3 per cent rise in the price of electrical goods. However, the directive is flexible and member states will have some degree of freedom to decide how to implement it. The UK will look to implement in such a way that minimises costs to UK business and consumers while retaining environmental benefits.