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UPDATE - Britain denies lags Europe in new recycling rules

UPDATE - Britain denies lags Europe in new recycling rules
LONDON - Britain said it is not behind its European counterparts in preparing for tough new recycling laws, despite being unable to deal with a mammoth pile of unwanted fridges, or setting new rules for scrapping cars.
Environment minister Margaret Beckett said the UK has had difficulties implementing a series of stringent environmental directives from the European Union this year, aimed at cutting pollution. \"There is no truth whatsoever in the suggestion that the UK is a laggard in these matters. Every member state has the same concerns and frequently the same difficulties as people experience in this country,\" Beckett said in response to questions in Parliament on the new EU rules. The EU\'s directives are aimed at cutting the quantity of waste material that is diverted to landfill and amount of toxic components that are dumped, such as the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the insulation foam in fridges and freezers. When the EU directive on ozone-depleting substances came into force in January ordering CFC foam to be removed from fridges before scrapping, the UK had no specialised plants running to treat the old units, which has led to a build-up of nearly 250,000 old fridges around the country. In April another directive on scrapped cars comes into force, which places the burden of the recycling costs on the car makers, and as yet, there is no agreement between industry players on how the process will be funded. The implementation of another directive on electronic and electrical waste, is also imminent and this will cover the scrapping of everything from computers to mobile phones to pocket game machines. But as yet, there is no established framework for the recycling process under the regulation, which ministers have said could lead to a similar problem to the mountain of old fridges. \"I share...the view that it is important that we get clear acceptance and understanding of not only of the wording of legislation and regulations, but of what they mean - what the implications are...We are more than eager to engage in such discussions in order to clarify all these issues before regulations are made or legislation implemented,\" Beckett said. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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