Compliance body fined for failing to recycle lights

ONE OF THE lighting industry’s lamp and luminaire recycling bodies has been fined £50,900 for failing to meet its obligations under the law.

Northern Compliance was ordered to pay the compensation into a WEEE compliance fee fund at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court following a prosecution by the Environment Agency.

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, was ordered to pay the compensation into a WEEE compliance fee fund at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court following a prosecution by the Environment Agency.

Northern Compliance Limited director Vincent Eckerman, who had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, was personally fined £2,295.

Additionally the court awarded a victim surcharge of £170 and costs of £1,000 to the Environment Agency.

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, said the Environment Agency.

The Agency estimates that Northern Compliance – whose licence to operate has since been withdrawn – owes £1.1 million in compliance fees.

In court papers, an aggravating factor was said to be that there had been long-term non-compliance despite repeated requests. A mitigating factor in Northern Compliance’s favour was that has had no previous convictions.

Northern Compliance has long 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’.

 

 

  • 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.