Supplementary written evidence from Rt
Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science,
Department for Business Innovation and Skills (SIM 00b)|
Thank you for inviting me to appear before your Committee
on 2 March regarding strategically important metals.
I promised to respond to questions from Graham Stringer
MP regarding the implementation and costs of the REACH and WEEE
Professor Robert Watson, Defra's Chief Scientific
Adviser has already written to you explaining the primary aims
of REACH, which is to enhance protection of human health and the
environment, and to increase industry competitiveness and innovation.
He argued that it is too early to say to what extent the aim of
increasing industry competitiveness and innovation has been achieved;
the first registration deadline was 30 November 2010, and the
process is being phased in until 2018. It will be important to
review the outcome of those first registrations and learn any
lessons for the two further stages due in 2013 and 2018.
Defra will be conducting an in-depth national study
later this year. This will inform their response to the European
Commission's EU-wide review of REACH next year.
Sectors of industry joined together in consortia
to provide the scientific data required to be generated for REACH
registration. Letters of access to their data are a commercial
matter between those in the consortia who have had to incur costs
in generating the data and those seeking to use the data for their
own products/purposes. Such arrangements would be subject to competition
law, and could be investigated if there was sufficient evidence
of anti-competitive practices. The OFT is responsible for enforcing
competition law and has significant powers to investigate and
act where it finds companies abusing a dominant position or behaving
BIS worked alongside Defra on the REACH negotiations
and we consider the regulations to be balanced and proportionate.
I am pleased to attach an extract from the Impact
Assessment giving the costs and benefits of UK WEEE Regulations,
as requested by Mr Stringer. I also attach the impact assessment
of the European Commission's proposal to "recast" the
WEEE Directive, currently under negotiation in Brussels.
Department for Business Innovation and Skills
31 March 2011
CURRENT COSTS AND BENEFITS OF UK WEEE REGULATIONSEXTRACT
FROM IMPACT ASSESSMENT
1. The cost of collecting, treating and recovering
WEEE depends on a wide range of factors including the volume and
composition of WEEE; the quality of WEEE; the value of materials
in WEEE; and the means of collecting, treating and reprocessing
2. Discussions with a number of Producer Compliance
Schemes (PCSs) operating under the UK Regulations suggest a range
of costs for collecting, treating, and recovering different categories
of WEEE. Though the UK Regulations apply across 13 categories
of EEE, WEEE is usually considered in terms of five broad categories.
These are: cooling appliances (Category 11"Cooling");
large household appliances (Category 1"LDA");
display equipment (Category 12"Displays"); mixed
WEEE (Categories 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10"Mixed");
and gas discharge lamps (Category 13"GDL"). The
range of average costs we have received are shown in Table 1 below.
The average costs we use are taken as the mid-point of these ranges.
ESTIMATES OF CURRENT RANGE OF AVERAGE COSTS
OF COLLECTING, TREATING AND RECOVERING SEPARATELY COLLECTED WEEE
IN THE UK
|Average cost range (£ per tonne)||10-20
|Middle of average cost range (£ per tonne)
3. Using the middle of the average range of costs
suggests that for the volume of separately collected household
WEEE collected, treated and recovered in the UK in 2008, total
costs were in the region of £58 million. It is recognised
that the costs for non-household WEEE are more varied than for
household WEEE and are therefore more difficult to "average".
However, if the average costs in Table 1 reflected the costs for
non-household WEEE, then the total costs for non-household WEEE
separately collected in the UK in 2008 would have been in the
region of £8 million.
4. There were additional costs relating to the
following: producer registration fees were in the region of £2
million; PCS administration costs were also in the region of £2
million (assuming an average charge of £400/producer); monitoring
and enforcement costs (public sector costs) were in the region
of £3 million; licences for approved treatment facilities
(ATFs) and approved exporters (AEs) dealing with WEEE were in
the region of £0.35 million; and costs under the Distributor
Takeback Scheme (DTS) were in the region of £3 million (presuming
the total costs of the DTS are spread evenly over three years).
This gives an estimated total cost of the UK WEEE Regulations
of just over £76 million in 2008.
5. In terms of the benefits of the UK WEEE Regulations,
there is less readily available information on the monetary value
of these. The 2006 RIA estimated that the monetary value of climate
change benefits from the additional separate collection, treatment,
recycling and recovery of WEEE could be in the region of £4-16
million in 2008.
6. In addition to this, there will be benefits
currently from avoiding the possible leaching of materials and
the possible emission to air of materials from diverting WEEE
from landfill and incineration. These are, however, difficult
to quantify in monetary terms in relation to WEEE specifically.
The separate collection of WEEE in the UK is also likely to be
contributing positively to sustainable consumption and production,
and having positive "spillover" effects on other forms
of waste and the issue of waste generally. These, however, are
also difficult to quantify in monetary terms.
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