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  • EA Official calls for changes to tackle online retailers

    08th Jun 2018

    Chris Grove, senior advisor at the Agency, made the comments while speaking at the WEEE conference held in London earlier this week.

    Mr Grove explained that as the online retail sector is only set to grow, as more people shop online, “solutions” are needed to bring the retailers into the system.

    “We have no jurisdiction to bring in producers which are selling through platforms where they are based outside of England, but place significant amounts of products on the UK market,” he explained.

    He added: “There is no silver bullet, and this needs a solution.  The internet sales process is only getting bigger and a solution is needed to level the playing field and how we bring those producers in. We collectively need to look at that and understand where the issues are.”

    Funding

    Mr Grove went on to explain when discussing waste crime and tackling free riders, that it has been difficult to clamp down on the former as the EA is funded on a cost recovery basis.

    The EA senior advisor explained that coupled with a cut in the Agency’s budget from Defra, it is “limited to a certain extent.”

    Mr Grove said: “We have a dedicated team looking at free riders but we are limited a certain extent on what we can do due to issues with funding.  Because we are funded largely on a cost recover basis, we can only use the money we receive from fee payers to regulate the fee payers and use that to look at free riders or people that are playing the system.”

    He added: “We get a grant from Defra each year to look at this. But in times of austerity this has been reduced of course, so our ability to deal with waste crime is limited by the money we have.”

    He went on to state that as waste crime has sophisticated over time, as has the Agency’s approach, particularly with a smaller budget. This includes not continuously checking compliant companies as a “box-ticking exercise”.

    Government

    Grahame Vickery, senior policy advisor at Defra, also gave a presentation at the WEEE Conference, discussing regulations, and what the future priorities are from a government perspective.

    He explained that the government’s 25 year environment plan set out a “truly strategic approach”, helping to better manage resources and explore what we need to do at the production, consumption and end of life stages .

    Mr Vickery said that issues on the agenda for the government’s forthcoming waste and resource strategy include increased collections for re-use and recycling, better design of products, the encouragement of more resource efficient use of materials and markets for quality recycled material.

    “These are some of the areas I would like to see discussions on. Fundamentally, how do we go about increasing collections for re-use and recycling?” 

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