Correspondence from the Director-General,
British Retail Consortium (BRC) to Lord Haskins, Chairman, Better
Regulation Task Force, 22 November 2001
As you are aware during the summer the BRC launched
a policy document, Transforming RegulationBetter for Business,
Better for Consumers, in which we seek to move beyond the debate
about how much regulation may or may not cost industry each year.
We recognise that some form of regulation is
a necessary function of Government. However, the BRC is anxious
to ensure that, when the Government has to act, it does so in
a way that does not stifle innovation and undermine the competitiveness
of our industry. A situation has arisen this that exemplifies
what happens when regulations are implemented without consultation
and due consideration.
Retailers, manufacturers and recycling companies
have been forced to announce this week that anyone buying a new
fridge of freezer will not have the old one taken away as part
of the home delivery service that most stores offer. Consumers
will be required to contact their local authority to have the
appliance taken away for storage. From January EC regulation 2037/2000
requires that in order to be recycled all used fridges and freezers
require the removal of CFCs from the foam insulation. The UK does
not have a plant that is equipped to remove CFCs and therefore
used fridges and freezers will be stored indefinitely as hazardous
waste. As a result an existing take-back and recycling infrastructure
has been destroyed overnight.
The Government has ignored warnings from our
industry that regulation would have a significant impact on retailers,
manufactures, local authorities and consumers alike. It is unfortunate
that the issue has come to a head in the same week that the Government
has held a waste summit to call for local authorities to make
a greater effort to recycle waste.