I propose to take Questions Nos. 924 and 959 together.
My Department has been actively engaged with the Society for the Irish Motor Industry, SIMI, the Irish Motor Vehicle Recyclers Association, IMVRA, the Metal Recyclers Association of Ireland, MRAI, and other stakeholders with a view to developing a producer responsibility initiative, PRI, to implement the European Parliament and Council Directive 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles, ELVs. I have also had meetings with the three main stake-holder groups.
Necessary enabling provisions to facilitate implementation of the Directive have been incorporated in the Protection of the Environment Act 2003. Part VA of the Waste Management Act 1996, as inserted by section 44 of the Protection of the Environment Act 2003, explicitly provides for producer responsibility for the free deposit of ELVs at authorised treatment facilities by their last owners; the appropriate treatment and recovery of ELVs deposited at authorised treatment facilities in line with the directive requirements, that is, depollution and removal of specified components and substances to facilitate increased reuse and recycling; the mandatory deposit of ELVs by their registered owners at authorised treatment facilities for appropriate treatment and recovery, and the issue of certificates of destruction in respect of ELVs deposited at authorised treatment facilities for scrapping.
Agreement in principle was reached in December 2001 that the relevant stakeholder groups would establish a not for profit company to operate an ELV recovery scheme to be subsidised by a fund generated by a levy on imported new and used vehicles.
However, it has not been possible to reach agreement on the detailed mechanisms to apply the levy and introduce the scheme as originally envisaged. My Department is continuing to engage with the relevant stake-holder groups on the detailed mechanisms for the operation of the free ELV take-back arrangements required by the directive, including how such arrangements will be funded. Such detailed mechanisms will be provided for in regulations.
The EU Commission has recently — November 2003 — initiated formal legal proceedings against Ireland and five other Member States in the European Court of Justice, ECJ, in relation to the implementation of the directive. In light of this action, it is my objective that the discussions with the stake-holder groups will be concluded as soon as possible. When these discussions are concluded I will announce details of the arrangements for the implementation of the directive. I am anxious to ensure that by the time the directive becomes fully operational in 2007 Ireland has a system in place for the recovery and recycling of ELVs capable of meeting the targets and standards set out in the Directive.