The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has recently signalled a significant development in the process of establishing the EPR Scheme Administrator (SA) where the department are seeking a head of the SA organisation. This is noteworthy because it suggests a positive step forward towards the imminent appointment of the administrator, expected to be announced in the new year. This appointment stands as a crucial development in the implementation timeline of the EPR regulations.
What is the function of the Scheme Administrator in EPR?
What is the role of the Scheme Administrator in the EPR scheme?
1. Fee Determination and Management
The Scheme Administrator will be responsible for developing the mechanism for producers to pay fees covering local authorities’ disposal costs for household packaging waste, while also overseeing the collection of fees from obligated producers for waste management and operational expenses.
2. Funds Dissemination to Local Authorities
The Administrator will oversee the fair allocation of EPR funds to Local Authorities and conduct assessments to ensure their efficiency and effectiveness in managing household waste.
3. Regulatory Intervention and Performance Management
In cases of underperformance, the Administrator has the power to issue improvement plans to councils and withhold payments based on their operational efficiency, aiming for a culture of accountability and continuous improvement within household waste collection systems.
The Scheme Administrator for EPR is considered sovereign-type function. This means a function typically undertaken by government, and due to this the Treasury has stipulated that the Scheme Administrator must be from the public sector. Defra’s recent announcement of an interim Scheme Administrator steering group for the UK’s EPR for packaging scheme is a positive indication of Defra’s willingness to engage with industry to ensure the best outcome for all players in the new system.
The steering group will oversee operations during the lead-up to the introduction of fees scheduled for October 2025. The steering group, composed of representatives from diverse sectors, including producer groups, trade associations, and an environmental non-government organisation, will play a critical role in providing guidance and shaping the future governance framework for EPR.