The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has communicated its response to the government’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme, as the consultation period comes to a close.

In response to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) consultation, the BBPA highlighted the lack of clarity and high cost of current proposals.

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said Britain’s brewers are playing a “leading role” in the development of sustainable packing and recycling solutions, with companies investing to ensure sustainability from the beginning of the production process to the final sale.

“However, the government’s proposed regulations are complicated and burdensome, and lack the clarity and detail necessary for producers and brand owners to budget accordingly, and plan for the price impacts of EPR to their businesses,” McClarkin said. “Moreover, we remain some way from the set-up and fully operational Scheme Administrator or critical information on the base fees producers will be required to pay on packaging placed on the market in 2024. Businesses simply cannot adequately prepare for a scheme with so little information available so close to its implementation.”

The BBPA said the proposals as they stand will add hundreds of millions of pounds to business costs in the next few years for the beer and pub sector alone, with “limited evidence” they will achieve their aims, and a “strong possibility they will severely damage a sector that provides over £26 billion of value for the British economy”.

McClarkin added: “A full business impact assessment of the combined EPR reforms is vital before implementation of these regulations.  Business recycling targets should also be frozen whilst packaging recovery notes (PRN) prices remain artificially high, at a time when cost inflation remains such a huge challenge.

“As a sector we recognise the important role packaging schemes play in our broader work towards reducing environmental impact and contributing towards a circular economy. We are committed to continue our work with government to ensure efficient and effective schemes are implemented. However, an exponential increase in costs and complexity of the magnitude being pushed through, without proper consideration of the tight operating margins sectors like ours work to, as well as the sector’s precarious position overall, is a hammer blow to an industry with the potential to become a vital engine of growth for the British economy with the right support.”

In July, DEFRA deferred EPR for packaging fees until October 2025. The scheme consultation closed on October 9.