This week, the Environment Agency released the Regulatory Position Statement C9, which signals an extension of the registration deadline for packaging producers who were unable, for reasons relating to the strain put on businesses by the COVID-19 pandemic and Government’s home working advice, to successfully register as a producer, either directly or through a compliance scheme, on or before 7 April 2020.
Who qualifies for the extended date
The usual £110 late registration fee or £220 resubmission fee will not be charged to producers whom have failed to register or provide incomplete or inaccurate data in their registration as a result of the pandemic, the Environment Agency will not pursue further enforcement actions for the time being either. Whilst packaging producers are still expected to register with the Agency or an approved compliance scheme and provide a fully accurate and complete data submission as soon as is practicable, the deadline for doing so has been pushed back to 7 July 2020. Producers will only be granted the extension if evidence that their ability to register was reasonably impeded by issues attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic can be made available upon request by the Environment Agency. From 8 July 2020, the previous regulatory position will come back into effect, reintroducing both late and resubmission fees, as well as more extensive enforcement actions to packaging compliance.
In all other respects the regulations continue to operate as normal and producers and schemes are expected to fully comply with their recycling obligations. However, this RPS comes as a much-welcomed move on the Environment Agency’s part to acknowledge the considerable issues businesses carrying packaging recovery obligations are facing in compiling data and completing registrations, with both home-based and numerically reduced workforces. We expect the other enforcement agencies to issue similar statements shortly.
SEPA guidance - Update
SEPA has announced a similar stance to the Environment Agency, stating that a failure by a producer to pay SEPA producer registration fees at the time of registration will not be treated as an incident of non-compliance by SEPA for three months, provided the only reason for non-compliance is the non-payment of fees, which was attributable to COVID-19 related business issues. This includes the producer registration application fees, as well as the resubmission of registration data fee. SEPA will accept direct producer registrations for 2020 that are not accompanied by the relevant fee for producer registrations, as long as the relevant fee is paid within three months from the publication of SEPA’s temporary regulatory position (23 April).
Help is available
At Valpak, we continue to operate on a business-as-usual basis and work diligently with our registered producer members facing difficulties during this testing time, helping them to comply and build upon the 100% compliance record we have accumulated over our 23-year lifespan. Please get in touch with us if you would like to register as a packaging producer through Valpak or explore the range of compliance, data insights, recycling and consulting services that we offer.