Defra consultations arrive together

LARAC has welcomed the release of the government consultations on EPR, DRS and consistency and applauded DEFRA for ensuring that they run for a full 12 weeks. LARAC believes having a full consultation period is vital and wrote to DEFRA in January to lobby for this to take place, a move then supported by others in the industry. 

One aspect that LARAC is disappointed with is that the consistency consultation is framed around resident confusion when it is clear that material type is the issue that residents have difficulty with, and this needs to be addressed more urgently than the collection part of the process. 

LARAC is pleased that DRS is being considered on a UK wide basis and also that it is recognised that more work needs to be done to understand the impacts on council kerbside systems. LARAC has supported development of a tool produced by Anthesis and supported by SUEZ that will be free to all local authorities to help them assess DRS impacts on them. 

Carole Taylor, Chair LARAC, said “I want to thank DEFRA for listening to our concerns regarding the length of the consultations and acting upon them. DEFRA have shown a willingness to engage with us and our members throughout the process so far and a 12-week window underlines that commitment to continue the productive conversation we have been having. I would urge all local authorities to take the time to properly consider these hugely important consultations and respond meaningfully to them. The outputs from these consultations could shape local authority waste services for the next twenty years so we need to get them right and working for local residents.”   

The cost recovery aspects of the EPR consultation will be LARAC’s focus and looking to make sure that producers do now pay the full cost of their packaging in the UK. LARAC has highlighted for a while now how currently the UK system means the PRN system only generates 10% of the cost and LARAC looks forward to it being replaced with a completely new system. 

LARAC will be working closely with its members to produce a response and helping them produce their own responses, this includes regular updates, briefings, surveys and workshops. 

The fact the consultations mirror a number of aspects that were contained in LARAC’s policy paper issued in April 2018, “The Future of Local Authority Waste Funding”, is seen by LARAC as a positive step forward for waste policy in the UK.