The Government has today announced a one-year delay in implementing Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging. Councils had previously expected to receive their first EPR payments in October 2024.
The policy is supposed to shift much of the financial responsibility for dealing with waste from councils to those producing it, ensuring an incentive to bring in more sustainable and less wasteful packaging.
However, today the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs signalled implementation of the policy would be delayed by a year. See the ‘updates’ section here.
This is the latest delay on waste policy announcements. Councils have already had to put off decisions on how to invest in services due to the Government failing to respond for two years to its consultation on waste consistency.
In response to the latest delay, Cllr Sarah Nelmes, DCN environment spokesperson, said:
“Councils need clarity on waste policy and we need it urgently. This latest delay adds to the uncertainty which is hampering us from improving services so that recycling rates increase, we provide even greater value to local taxpayers and we move towards net zero.
“The delay in implementing EPR must not be allowed to undermine the commitment, set out in the Environment Act, that those who produce waste should fund councils’ services on an ongoing basis. Councils need clear, realistic timelines to know when this vital policy is going to be implemented.
“While councils are, of course, seeking to increase recycling rates, there has been far too little attention paid to reducing the overall amount of waste produced – and the incentives provided by EPR are an essential tool to bring this about.
“If there is a silver lining on this latest delay, it does at least provide an opportunity to sort out some of the questions that remain over how EPR funding will be distributed in a way that is fair to all councils, whether in rural or urban settings.
“We want to build the waste services which serve the unique needs of each local area but we are putting off decisions in the expectation that the Government will impose new requirements on us. The ongoing uncertainty means many councils have paused on replacing their older vehicles and cannot take decisions on how to move waste services towards net zero.”
Note: For more information on the delay in the Government waste consultation response, see here.