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Volume 454: debated on Tuesday 5 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what his most recent estimate is of (a) the number of batteries used by UK households and (b) the number of batteries collected for recycling from UK households in each year since 1997, broken down by battery type; and if he will make a statement; (106425)

(2) what requirements are made of local authorities to provide facilities for the recycling of batteries; and if he will make a statement.

Recent consultancy work, carried out on behalf of DEFRA, estimates that 24,850 tonnes of household batteries were sold in the UK in 2003. The great majority of these were alkaline manganese and zinc carbon varieties. There has been no legislative requirement for waste household batteries to be separately collected and detailed statistics have not therefore been kept. However, we estimate that various local voluntary schemes have resulted in a capture rate of less than 2 per cent.

The Batteries and Accumulators Directive (2006/66/EC) came into force on 26 September 2006. Member states have two years to transpose this measure into national law. This is a ‚Äúproducer responsibility‚ÄĚ directive and, as such, the onus on collection and recycling will fall on battery producers in the first instance. However, local authorities are also likely to play a role given their current involvement in the collection of household waste. The exact form this may take will not be decided until the completion of formal domestic consultation with all parties concerned.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is currently working in partnership with a range of local authorities and not-for-profit organisations which already run recycling collection services on a number of pilot battery collection schemes.