Northern Compliance – the WEEE producer compliance scheme that failed to fulfil its WEEE recycling target for 2017 – has had its withdrawal from operating as a scheme confirmed by the Environment Agency.
The Agency confirmed the step in a notice to other producer compliance schemes and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) reprocessors this afternoon (29 January). The withdrawal came into effect from 22 January 2019, the Agency said.
This came as the operator of the scheme had failed to finance the cost of the collection and treatment of WEEE on behalf of its members in 2017 – and its failure to pay a compliance fee for the same period, believed to have been in the order of £750,000.
According to a spokesman for the Environment Agency, the approval was withdrawn voluntarily.
The spokesman, said: “Northern Compliance have voluntarily chosen to withdraw their WEEE scheme approval for 2019. Northern Compliance are currently an approved scheme for 2018.”
The compliance scheme had a total of 191 producer members. Among them were the retailer ASDA, which has now switched to the Veolia WEEE scheme, the television and audio equipment supplier Akura and household goods manufacturer Lloytron – both of which have transferred to Northern Compliance’s sister scheme WEEE Light.
The two schemes are linked through their association with the company AVC Weeeco – described as the ‘delivery partner’ for both Northern Compliance and WEEE Light.
When contacted by letsrecycle.com, Vince Eckerman director of Northern Compliance, said: “We will be making a full response to the withdrawal in due course.”
In October it was revealed – via a freedom of information request – that Northern Compliance had missed the 2017 household WEEE target, and that the Environment Agency had been investigating the scheme over its failure to meet the target. The FOI request suggested that the scheme was around 3,000 tonnes short of the required tonnage to meet its members’ obligations.
Under the WEEE Regulations, schemes missing their targets are required to pay a compliance fee.
However, Northern Compliance argued that it should not have to pay the outstanding sum for 2017, until the resolution of an ongoing legal challenge with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs over the methodology used to set the fee (see letsrecycle.com story).