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batteries regulations face bis consultation

11th August 2014

The BIS have launched a consultation seeking views on the implementation of the amended batteries Directive 2013/56/EU, the results of which could impact cordless power tool (CPT) producers. EU Directive (2006/66/EC) was introduced to improve the environmental performance of batteries and accumulators and to minimise the impact that waste batteries and accumulators have on the environment.

In the UK the Directive was implemented through The Batteries and Accumulators (Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008 which deals with the placing on the market requirements and The Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009 (Batteries regulations) covering producer responsibility requirements.

Review of the Batteries regulations

It was written into EU Directive (2006/66/EC) that the European Commission review the exemption allowing cadmium to be used in batteries for cordless power tools (CPTs). As a result, in 2012 the commission published its proposal for a directive that would remove the exemption for cadmium in batteries intended for use in CPTs. There was a further amendment to remove the exemption for button cells with a mercury content of less than 2% by weight. Directive 2013/56/EU came into effect in 2013 and extended the ban on placing batteries containing cadmium to CPTs.

The UK intended to use the “copy out” principle to place this into the Batteries regulations and the consultation now being launched by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) seeks views and asks questions about this implementation. As the changes have been written into an EU Directive the UK must implement the changes or be in breach of EU law, therefore, the questions within the consultation are focussed on the potential costs of the changes rather than the wording to be incorporated into the EU Directive. You can read more about the consultation and there are details of how to respond on the BIS website here. A final version of the Regulations will be made and laid before Parliament to come into force in July 2015.

Impact on Battery producers

The results of the BIS consultation will only impact cordless power tools producers. Producers may still sell existing stock which contains cadmium batteries as it is likely that the amendments to the Batteries regulations will not be implemented for some time. A representative of batteries producer compliance scheme Battery Back has indicated to Comply Direct that minimal impact should be felt by implicated producers and that they will not be submitting a response to the consultation as the cadmium exemption for CPTs will be removed regardless of the outcome of the consultation.

For more information about the Batteries regulations or to get in touch regarding the consultation please contact the Comply Direct batteries compliance team.