The guidance for submitting a compliance fee proposal has been updated by Defra this week, making it clear that all proposals should include a mechanism to ensure the impacts of COVID-19 are taken into account.

When not enough WEEE recycling evidence exists for compliance schemes to meet their obligations, Defra approves the compliance fee to be used by schemes as a means to ensure legal compliance is achieved. This has been an critical mechanism since the WEEE targets have been missed for the last three years, meaning reliance on the compliance fee has been necessary. Indeed over £10 million was raised through the fee in 2017 and 2018 alone.

The WEEE Fund manages the money raised through the compliance fee and last month launched over £5 million of support for recyclers and charities impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, and a new awareness campaign to increase the consumer recycling of WEEE.

Take into account the impact of COVID-19

Proposals for the methodology of the WEEE compliance fee are sought by Defra every year and following recent consultation with industry stakeholders, yesterday Defra updated the guidance for submitting a compliance fee methodology proposal, making it clear that the proposals should take into account the impact of COVID-19.

A decrease in WEEE collections is expected due to the COVID-19 lockdown and despite the fact that the proposed collection targets for 2020 have already been revised down, it is clear that a shortfall is still expected. Indeed Defra has already indicated to the market that the compliance fee mechanism will again be considered for the 2020 compliance period.

Significantly reduced collections

Head of policy at B2B Compliance, Robbie Staniforth, commented “The engagement with industry from Defra during this difficult period has been excellent. We are pleased to see them incorporate feedback into the newly released guidance. While WEEE collections have significantly reduced due to business and recycling centre closures, it is particularly heartening to see them stress the critical importance of compliance schemes continuing to deliver as much WEEE to treatment facilities as possible.”

“Unfortunately, the guidance is unlikely to entice new parties to submit proposals to operate the fee. The complexity of the system means it would entail a significant amount of work in order to compete with the well-established proposals submitted annually. Having a diverse range of ideas to choose from is essential for ensuring the best possible outcome. It is difficult to see how this issue can be addressed.”

If you have any questions about the compliance fee, please contact our team.

To arrange a WEEE collection, please use our online form.