THE GOVERNMENT is to prosecute one of the industry’s lamp and luminaire recycling bodies for failing to meet its obligations under the law, Lux Review can reveal.
The Environment Agency has lodged court documents, seen by Lux Review, which allege that Northern Compliance, one of the so-called ‘compliance schemes’ whose task it is to deal with end-of-life lamps, luminaires and other equipment under the Waste Electrical and Electronic laws, failed in its duty during 2017.
Northern Compliance fell short of its obligation to finance the collection and disposal of some 102 tonnes of gas discharge and LED lamps, as well as other equipment including display screens, says the Agency.
The Agency estimates that Northern Compliance – whose licence to operate has since been withdrawn – owes £1.1 million in compliance fees. It also says it will apply to the court to recoup its legal fees.
It says an aggravating factor is that there has been long-term non-compliance despite repeated requests. A mitigating factor in Northern Compliance’s favour is that has had no previous convictions.
Northern Compliance, for its part, has challenged the validity of the methodology for calculating its obligations.
In a statement at the time of the Environment Agency decision to terminate Northern Compliance’s licence, chief Vincent Eckerman said: ‘We respectfully acknowledge the Environment Agency’s findings, however we disagree with them and are of the opinion that Northern Compliance did not in fact break any of Defra’s UK WEEE Regulations in 2017.
‘Defra’s policy to introduce a retrospective and disproportionate PBS uplift for those businesses choosing not to join what was described as a ‘voluntary’ scheme; coupled with the introduction of an unfair compliance management fee mechanism, had a catastrophic effect on our business.
‘We want to put it on the record that in 2018 all Northern Compliances’ former members, bar one exception, funded their obligations and Northern Compliance has met those obligations in full, commensurate with the funding provided’.
The case is slated to take place on Thursday 27 June in Newcastle Magistrates’ Court.
- This story contains public sector information obtained by a Freedom of Information request and is licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
- Learn more about the handling of waste lamps and luminaires at the LuxLive 2019 exhibition. The show takes place on Wednesday 13 November and Thursday 14 November 2018 at ExCeL London. Entry is free if you pre-register HERE.