Defra launches consultation on draft regulations for EPR scheme

UK – The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced a new consultation seeking responses on the draft regulations for extended producer responsibility (EPR).

This consultation document outlines the UK Government and Devolved Administrations’ plan to introduce EPR for packaging in October 2025.

After consulting in 2019 and 2021, Defra confirmed the proposals in March 2022 and has since been working on developing draft legislation to implement the measures.

EPR aims to hold businesses responsible for the environmental impact of their packaging, encouraging the use of recyclable and reusable materials.

This policy seeks to improve efficiency, incentivize responsible packaging practices, and promote domestic reprocessing and system improvements.

The current consultation seeks feedback on the draft Regulations, ensuring that the approach set out in the Government’s response from March 2022 has been properly reflected.

The views of stakeholders, including obligated producers, exporters, reprocessors, compliance schemes, local authorities, and regulators, are being sought to assess the clarity of the proposed Regulations and identify any areas for improvement.

The draft legislation brings clarity to how much producers will have to pay to register for an EPR scheme administrator.

The document states that a large producer would need to pay a fee of £2,224 to register with the EPR scheme. A small producer will need to pay £1,110.

The latest move comes just two days after Defra announced its plans to defer the EPR scheme for packaging by one year, from October 2024 to October 2025, with the industry calling for clarity from Defra on the waste reforms laid out in the 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy.

The document – The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging and Packaging Waste) Regulations 2024 – also indicates that local authorities can expect to be informed of their payments ahead of the start of the financial year.

Assuming there is no further delay to EPR, these payments will begin on 1 April 2026. Payments will be made towards the end of each financial quarter.

The statutory instrument does not mention consistency consultation but does confirm that scheme administrators will carry responsibility for ensuring consistent collections across the UK.

The consultation process is jointly conducted by the UK Government, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, and the Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland, and the Regulations will apply across the UK.

Interested parties are encouraged to respond to the consultation and provide feedback by 9 October 2023.

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