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

Annex 3


  This document complements the note provided to its members by the BRC with the insertion of additional meetings attended by Dixons Group and correspondence undertaken by Dixons Group.

20 October 1998 European Scrutiny Committee considers regulations (HC15-xxxviii).
16 December 1998European Scrutiny Committee approves regulations (HC34-iv).
October 2000EC regulation 2037/2000 agreed under the Montreal Treaty. Government seeks clarification of detail on hazardous waste in door insulation.
October 2000Government issues guidance on ODS regulations saying CFCs should be removed "if practicable". Retailers call for further clarification.
21 November 2000Retailers and contractors meet with DETR, DTI and Customs & Excise to discuss export of products containing CFCs under ODS regulations.
24 November 2000Dixons writes to Michael Meacher urging delay in ban on export of fridges containing CFCs in foam.
28 November 2000Council of Ministers meeting at which ban was discussed.
13 December 2000Dixons raises the issue at a BRC lunch meeting with Kim Howells, Consumer Affairs Minister, DTI. Mr Howells recommends contacting Ms Hewitt whom he said would raise it with DETR.
March 2001 Retail sector warns DETR officials and Ministers that Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment Directive will have serious repercussions for take back and recycling schemes.
June 2001European Commission confirms with UK government that foam lining in fridge/freezer doors is included under EC regulation 2037/2000.
June/July 2001Series of meetings between retailers and government officials seeking further clarification on the regulations.
10 August 2001Dixons CEO John Clare wrote to Michael Meacher expressing serious concern at the delay in providing a detailed explanation of the regulations and the implications for recycling products.
21 August 2001DEFRA hold first meeting of stakeholders at DTI Conference Centre.
7 September 2001Chris Megainey of DEFRA replies to Dixons' letter to Mr Meacher.
12 September 2001Dixons, Comet and representatives from the refurbishment and recycling industry travel to the European Commission to discuss concerns over the regulation and its implementation in the UK.
18 September 2001Dixons writes further letter to Permanent Secretary DEFRA.
27 September 2001Dixons writes to DTI Special Adviser.
28 September 2001DEFRA hold second stakeholder meeting.
4 October 2001Dixons letter to DEFRA Special Adviser re: consequences of implementation.
5 October 2001Statutory Instrument published.
16 October 2001Chief Executive of Radio, Electrical & Television Retailers' Association writes to Michael Meacher.
19 October 2001Dixons Chief Executive writes to Local Government Minister Nick Raynesford seeking support for local authorities to enable them to provide cost free end route for waste refrigerators to allow take-back to continue and seeking meeting.
19 October 2001Dixons Chief Executive writes to Margaret Beckett responding to the publication of the statutory instrument and seeking delay in implementation.
1 November 2001Refrigeration manufacturers contact retailers to indicate that they can no longer offer take back of end of life refrigeration.
9 November 2001Bill Moyes (Director General, British Retail Consortium) writes to Margaret Beckett and Patricia Hewitt. The letter sets out the options for retailers as:
Stop taking fridges back;
Take back and export to Germany, Holland or Belgium; and
Take back and store fridges in the UK until a recycling plant is built.
14 November 2001Dixons and Comet attend meeting with Chris Megainey, DEFRA, recyclers, local authority (LA) representatives and DTI (Anna Stacey). DEFRA advanced a recycling credit scheme which would require each end-of-life refrigerator to be traceable back to the previous owner's postcode so that the claim could be made back to the relevant LA. Retailers would need to label each collected unit with its postcode of origin and provide an auditable paper trail for each unit. Recyclers indicated that the huge administrative overhead that would fall to them would make this impractical.
17 November 2001Retailers announce that they can no longer offer a take back service when delivering new fridges.
19 November 2001DEFRA confirms to business and retailers that from 1 January CFCs must be removed from fridge and freezer doors.
19 November 2001Michael Meacher announces in a written parliamentary answer that suitable recycling plants will come online as early as Spring 2002 (Hansard col 75W).
21 November 2001Margaret Beckett says at Waste Summit that the problem is "under discussion".
22 November 2001Bill Moyes writes to Lord Haskins and Michael Meacher. (Haskins responds with a copy of a letter to Mrs Beckett dated 7 Nov in which he asks why the issue "is being addressed only at the last minute").
22 November 2001Patricia Hewitt responds to the BRC's letter of 9 Nov saying that she is working with DEFRA towards a satisfactory resolution.
23 November 2001John Clare (Group Chief Executive, Dixons) writes to Michael Meacher seeking details on the recycling sites that are expected to be online in the Spring of 2002.
26 November 2001DEFRA Permanent Secretary attends meeting with members of Dixons Group Board at Dixons head Office at Dixons' invitation to discuss fridge issue and potential resolution.
3 December 2001DEFRA publishes guidance on storage of hazardous waste from disused fridges to local authorities.
4 December 2001Government announces £6 million funding for local authorities to store old fridges and freezers in the Local Government Finance Settlement.
11 December 2001The BRC meet Alun Michael to discuss rural issues and raise the fridges issue in the margins.
17 December 2001Waste management company, Shanks, announces that it will be taking old fridges to its High Temperature Incineration Facilities at Fawley and Pontypool. However, its capacity is just 10,000 units per year.
18 December 2001DEFRA host meeting with BRC to follow up Alun Michael discussion.
19 December 2001At his request Shadow Environment spokesman, Jonathan Sayeed, meets BRC and retailers to discuss the issue.
21 December 2001DEFRA stakeholder meeting to discuss disposal of commercial refrigerators.
24 January 2002Comet, Dixons and RETRA meet Meacher and officials to discuss "lead authority" solution.
18 February 2002 Stakeholder meeting with Michael Meacher attended by BRC, Dixons, Comet, RETRA and representatives of LGA, Waste Contractors and Community Refurbishers. Officials to draft protocol.
27 February 2002 Further stakeholders meeting with Michael Meacher to be attended by Dixons and other retailers.

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Prepared 18 April 2002