Councils had been expecting to receive the first EPR payments in October 2024, but today the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced a one-year delay.
EPR would shift much of the financial responsibility for dealing with waste from councils to those producing it. In 2018, the Government announced its intention to introduce the policy.
Roll-out of the scheme, originally due in 2023, had already been pushed back.
Cllr Sarah Nelmes, DCN environment spokesperson, said the new delay would add to the uncertainty that was ‘hampering’ councils from making improvements in order to increase recycling rates.
The delay must not undermine the commitment, set out in the Environment Act, that those who produce waste should fund councils’ services, she added.
Cllr Nelmes said: ‘While councils are, of course, seeking to increase recycling rates, there has been far too little attention paid to reducing the overall amount of waste produced – and the incentives provided by EPR are an essential tool to bring this about.
‘If there is a silver lining on this latest delay, it does at least provide an opportunity to sort out some of the questions that remain over how EPR funding will be distributed in a way that is fair to all councils, whether in rural or urban settings.’
Cllr Darren Rodwell, environment spokesperson for the Local Government Association (LGA), said: 'The decision to delay the implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is disappointing for councils. It means we lose crucial momentum on ambitions to clean up our environment, while council taxpayers continue to pay for dealing with unnecessary and unrecyclable waste.'