Tech recycling directive faces further delays

The UK risks slipping even further behind with the implementation of the controversial WEEE directive

The UK government is believed to be on the verge of announcing that implementation of the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) directive may be delayed again by up to six months.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Trade and Industry confirmed that an announcement around the directive, which has already been delayed six months, would be made this week but wouldn't confirm any more details.

The directive was originally meant to become law in the UK in August this year, but in March the DTI announced it would be delayed until January 2006. Then in August the DTI announced that the legislation would be delayed until at least June 2006.

The UK government has been heavily criticised by the European Commission for dragging its heels over the recycling initiative. The EC sent a warning to the UK government in July warning that the government could be taken before the European Court for failing to enact legislation in the specified time-frame.

The most recent delays are believed to be linked to the government's decision to reject industry calls for a National Clearing House – the mechanism proposed for how waste technology will actually be collected and distributed to recyclers. Businesses are believed to be concerned that the alternative suggested by the DTI is not logical or workable.

]The European Commission announced in July that it was taking legal action against Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Poland and the UK. All eight countries have yet to enact the WEEE directive into national law.

"We need an explanation as to why countries can't implement legislation. This directive had been on the books for a long time, and other countries have implemented it," a spokeswoman for the EC's environment commissioner told ZDNet UK at the time.

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