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Packaging Regulations: Review

Volume 591: debated on Thursday 2 July 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have received the Advisory Committee on Packaging's report on the Review of Packaging Regulations. [HL2573]

We are today placing in the Library a copy of the Advisory Committee on Packaging's report on the operation of the Producer Responsibility (Packaging Waste) Obligations Regulations 1997.The committee's principal conclusion is that adjustments to the packaging regulations should be kept to the minimum in view of the very short timescale for achieving the Directive targets set for 2001, the costs to business and the need to encourage investment in the expansion of recycling and collection capacity. Sir Peter Parker's report includes specific recommendations on the PRN system: in particular, that the PRN mechanism should be more transparent to assure all parties that the funds raised are deployed effectively to increase collection and reprocessing capacity; and that the PRNs should be issued to obligated producers or their representatives only. The report recommends the development of a national packaging planning framework to give the parties involved greater confidence in planning on the achievement of the packaging waste recovery targets, and to contribute to the national waste strategy. The committee also recommends that there should be mechanisms developed to promote cost pass through by the various sectors, but that, where this fails, "hardship criteria" should be established to determine where a case merited review.Clearly this is still a relatively early point in the operation of these regulations, which are based on an inter-sectoral industry agreement, and we are keen that the Government should continue to have the benefit of the advisory committee's views on such issues as may arise in this challenging period as we seek to double the UK's packaging recycling activity. We will be discussing with Sir Peter how the committee can continue in this valuable role.