Defra opens consultation on draft EPR legislation

Defra has today (28 July) released a draft statutory instrument for extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging and is calling for responses on how it reflects the approach set out in the Government's consultation response of March 2022.

Extended producer responsibility draft legislationThis consultation document outlines the UK Government and Devolved Administrations' plan to introduce EPR for packaging in October 2025. After consulting in 2019 and 2021, Defra confirmed the proposals in March 2022 and has since been working on developing draft legislation to implement the measures.

The aim of EPR is to hold businesses responsible for the environmental impact of their packaging, encouraging the use of recyclable and reusable materials. This policy seeks to improve efficiency, incentivise responsible packaging practices, and promote domestic reprocessing and system improvements.

The current consultation seeks feedback on the draft Regulations, ensuring that the approach set out in the Government's response from March 2022 has been properly reflected. The views of stakeholders, including obligated producers, exporters, reprocessors, compliance schemes, local authorities, and regulators, are being sought to assess the clarity of the proposed Regulations and identify any areas for improvement.

The draft legislation brings clarity to how much producers will have to pay to register for an EPR scheme administrator. The document states that a large producer would need to pay a fee of £2,224 to register with the EPR scheme. A small producer will need to pay £1,110.

The draft legislation comes after the implementation of EPR was delayed on Tuesday (25 July) to October 2025, with the industry calling for clarity from Defra on the waste reforms laid out in the 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy.

The document – The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging and Packaging Waste) Regulations 2024 – also indicates that local authorities can expect to be informed of their payments ahead of the start of the financial year. Assuming there is no further delay to EPR, these payments will begin on 1 April 2026. Payments will be made towards the end of each financial quarter.

The statutory instrument does not mention the consistency consultation, but does confirm that scheme administrators will carry responsibility for ensuring consistent collections across the UK.

The consultation process is jointly conducted by the UK Government, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, and the Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland, and the Regulations will apply across the UK.

Interested parties are encouraged to respond to the consultation and provide feedback by 9 October 2023.

How will EPR payments to local authorities work?

Payments will be calculated by the scheme administrator based on the adjusted disposal costs of the relevant authority. Local authorities must be notified as early as possible after the start of the scheme as to how much money they will receive.

The notice must also include how that amount was calculated, setting out the reasons for any deductions or other adjustments, the date on which payments are expected to be made to the relevant authority, and the method of payment which will be used.

The scheme administrator may at any time during an assessment year recalculate the adjusted disposal costs of a relevant authority. If the scheme administrator considers that a relevant authority is not providing an effective waste management service, it can reduce the amount of the payments it makes to that authority.

If the monies received, or expected to be received, from producers under the Regulations are not sufficient to cover the total adjusted disposal costs of all relevant authorities and the public information disposal costs of the scheme administrator, the scheme administrator may determine what proportion of those monies is to be distributed to relevant authorities.

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