WEEE lighting compliance scheme Recolight has criticised the decision by the Environment Agency last week to increase subsistence fee charges.
On Thursday, March 21 2018, the Environment Agency unveiled a new charging scheme for regulatory permits and services which it claims will ensure businesses cover the costs of services rather than the public (see letsrecycle.com story).
Among the announcements, some annual WEEE charges which the EA levies on producers would more than triple from 1 January 2019, the start of the next compliance period.
Current Agency fees are £210 for companies with a turnover below £1m, and £445 for companies with a turnover above £1m. The EA announcement said it will increase both these charges to £750 from January 2019.
Commenting on the news from the Recolight WEEE compliance scheme, chief executive Nigel Harvey said “It is disappointing that the EA did not take on board comments made during the consultation process. This increase will be particularly difficult for small and medium sized companies.”
Mr Harvey added: “The EA were presented with alternative, fully costed funding options that would have limited the impact on businesses with a turnover below £1m. These alternatives would have spread the increase more fairly across the range of operators in the WEEE system. However, they were ignored, in favour of this excessively costly solution.”
As outlined below, The Agency said that it intends to implement the producer compliance scheme (PCS) annual subsistence charge at £12,500 from the 2019 compliance year.
The Agency has reasoned: “We have changed our proposals to reduce charges for some producers. Rather than applying a single fixed charge for all producers of electrical and electronic equipment, we will apply reduced charges for non-VAT registered producers. ”
Some support for the Agency’s approach came from Robbie Staniforth, policy manager at Ecosurety, who said that the introduction of the new subsistence compliance charge would help ensure the regulator is adequately funded. But, he was disappointed at the level of the fee increase for large producers.
Mr Staniforth said: “We have always believed that compliance scheme need to be regulated, just like the rest of interest groups involved in producer compliance. We would like to reassure our members that this new subsistence fee will be absorbed by Ecosurety and won’t have any effect on the membership prices they pay.”
And, he explained that for large producers, they already pay a fee based on the amount of WEEE they produce.