UK Consultation: The Batteries and Accumulators (Placing on the Market) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

BIS consultation on the Batteries and Accumulators and Waste Batteries and Accumulators Directive
BIS consultation on the Batteries and Accumulators and Waste Batteries and Accumulators Directive

The United Kingdom’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has issued a consultation on the method of implementation of Directive 2013/56/EU (the latest version of the Batteries and Accumulators and Waste Batteries and Accumulators Directive), for text not already taken directly from the Directive.

The Government intends to use the “copy out” principle to transpose the 2013 Directive. This means that the UK will adopt implementing legislation that uses the same wording as that of the EU legislation, without elaborating on that wording, and will not go further than implementing the minimum requirements of the 2013 Directive.

The amendments introduced by the 2013 Directive concern single market provisions of the original Batteries Directive. The UK is obliged to introduce transposing legislation to ensure the single market operates in this area. If the UK fails to do that then it will be in breach of its EU law obligations and could be infracted by the European Commission

The two main environmental provisions relate to:

Cordless Power Tools
The 2013 Directive extends the ban on the placing on the market of portable batteries and accumulators containing cadmium to portable batteries and accumulators intended for use in CPTs. These batteries previously benefitted from an exemption. This exemption has been removed by the 2013 Directive. In order to enable the recycling industry and consumers to adapt to the relevant substitute technologies, this ban will apply from 1 January 2017.

Button Cell Batteries
The 2013 Directive, also, prohibits the marketing of button cells with a mercury content of less than 2% by weight. Again, these button cells previously benefitted from an exemption that has been removed by the 2013 Directive. This ban will apply from 1 October 2015 and the European Commission required to review the availability of alternatives to button cells for hearing aids.

As is usual for environmental legislation targeted at the marketplace, any batteries and accumulators lawfully placed on the market for the first time prior to the respective bans can still be marketed until stocks run out.

Accordingly, the draft United Kingdom 2015 Regulations will implement the 2013 Directive by removing certain exemptions to the prohibitions in the original 2006 Directive on the placing on the market of batteries containing mercury or cadmium and by amending the provisions relating to the removability of a waste battery from an appliance by an independent qualified professional. It is intended that the 2015 Regulations will not go beyond what is necessary to implement the 2013 Directive.

For those interested in the consultation as an opportunity to influence the 2015 Regulations by responding to the four specific questions described below:

Question 1: Do you agree that the Draft 2015 Regulations accurately copy out the 2013 Directive?
Question 2: Do you agree that the 2015 Regulations will result in a negligible cost to consumers and businesses?
Question 3: Do you agree that it would take 2 hours for a retail or wholesale manager’s time to familiarise themselves with the 2015 Regulations? What is the expected cost to a retailer or wholesaler of this familiarisation?
Question 4: Do you agree with the economic assessment in the impact assessment? If there are any additional costs and benefits not covered could you please give us any evidence for their inclusion, including quantification where possible.

The full consultation pack can be found at http://bit.ly/1qV2ISS

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