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Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive

Volume 449: debated on Tuesday 25 July 2006

I have today published a consultation document on the Government’s proposals to implement the waste electrical and electronic equipment directive (the WEEE Directive).

The Government are firmly committed to sustainable development and recognises that effective implementation of the WEEE directive has a key role to play in achieving this goal. Electrical and electronic equipment is the fastest growing category of waste across the European Union, with an estimated 17 to 20 kg per person produced every year. The UK alone generated around 1 million tonnes of WEEE last year. By ensuring that WEEE is treated, recycled and disposed of to high environmental standards as required by the directive, we protect the environment and human health from the risk of hazardous contamination.

The proposals published today follow on from the implementation review announced last December, and have been developed through extensive consultation with companies and other interested parties who will be directly affected by the new regulations. They represent a balance of controls needed to identify and discourage free-riders and give companies the freedom to find the most cost-effective routes to meet their obligations.

The intention is, subject to the outcome of public consultation, that the directive should be transported into UK law early in 2007, leading to full implementation on 1 July 2007.

The consultation document will be placed on the DTI website so that it is available to the wider public. The consultation period will run for 12 weeks, with a closing date for comments of 17 October 2006. Copies of the consultation document have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.