Lamp-recycling body pleads guilty to neglect

ONE OF THE lighting industry’s principal lamp and lamp and luminaire recycling bodies has pleaded guilty to failing to meet its obligations under the law.

The next hearing in the case between the Environment Agency and Northern Compliance is slated to take place on 24 September in Newcastle Magistrates’ Court.

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, is being prosecuted by the Environment Agency for failing in its duty during 2017.

Northern Compliance Limited and director Vincent Eckerman entered the guilty pleas at Newcastle-upon-Tyne Magistrates Court. Magistrates have now adjourned the case for a further hearing on 24 September.

It’s alleged that 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 Environment 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The Agency estimates that Northern Compliance – whose licence to operate has since been withdrawn – owes £1.1 million in compliance fees.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.

In court papers seen by Lux Review, it’s alleged that 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’.

 

 

  • 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.