Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Correspondence from the Alan Whitehead, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions to Dixons Group plc, 26 November 2001

  Thank you for your letter of 19 October to Nick Raynsford about the financial implications on local authorities of the implementation of Phase two of EC Regulation 2037/2000.

  The Ozone Depleting Substance Regulation 2037/2000 ("the ODS Regulation"), which came into effect in October 2000 throughout the European Union, requires the removal of CFCs and HCFCs from refrigeration equipment before such appliances are recycled or disposed of. I can assure you that we are aware of the implications for local authorities as a result of the recent confirmation by the European Commission that the ODS Regulation applies to CFCs and HCFCs in the insulation foam of refrigeration equipment, as well as in the cooling circuit. The estimated 2.5 million domestic refrigeration appliances replaced each year in the UK will not be capable of being exported to developing countries, or sent to licensed scrap metal facilities. Whilst plant for the environmentally sound destruction of refrigerators does exist in other EU Member States, in general, and in keeping with the proximity principle, we would hope that waste refrigeration equipment could be dealt with within the UK.

  At present, a number of retailers collect unwanted refrigerators from householders when delivering new appliances. The Government has met urgently with the white goods retail industry and the Local Government Association to consider the implications of the ODS Regulation. We will be including additional provision for the immediate costs which local authorities face. This will be announced as part of the provisional local government settlement for 2002-03 at the end of this month. We hope that retailers will continue to operate their take-back schemes. In the event that they do not, and significant additional numbers of waste refrigerators are collected by local authorities as household waste, or taken to civic amenity sites, we will urgently review the situation, including any increased financial burden on local authorities.

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