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Proposal to modernise the regulation for batteries

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United Kingdom

Batteries in the European Union are currently regulated by Directive 2006/66/EC, which is designed to combat the environmental and human health risks associated with hazardous elements contained in batteries by setting thresholds for chemicals and metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead.

As part of its wider 'Green Deal' strategy to reach zero net emission of greenhouse gases by 2050 coupled with the exponential growth of the electric transport industry and the demand for batteries, the European Commission has published a proposal to reform the existing regulatory framework for batteries in the EU. 
 
The draft legislative Proposal aims to ensure that all batteries placed on the EU market are sustainable, high performing and safe for their entire life cycle, by introducing significant changes in respect of battery manufacturing, design, labelling, collection and recycling.  Key elements of the Proposal include:
 
  • Tighter carbon footprint rules, including a requirement for industrial and electric vehicles batteries to have a carbon foot print declaration;
  • Tighter performance and durability criteria for portable batteries of general use (e.g. AA and AAA batteries)
  • Labelling requirements for different types of batteries (e.g. expected lifetime, charging capacity, presence of hazardous substances, state of health) and a registration requirement prior to being placed on the EU market that will be documented on a ‘Battery Passport'
  • Obligations on producers in respect of the end-of-life / waste management of batteries (e.g. in the form of collection rates and reporting obligations)
  • Recycling efficiency targets (e.g. a requirement to declare minimum levels of recycled content)
  • Implementation of supply chain due diligence schemes, including a potentially mandatory third party verification carried out by notified bodies or relevant national market surveillance authorities to improve transparency over the supply chain.
Whilst the Proposal is subject to change before it enters into force, it is clear that the new regime once implemented will have significant implications for manufacturers, producers, importers and distributors of any type of battery.  The new regime is expected to apply from 1 January 2022 with a phased approach taken thereafter to implement the requirements.
 
We are currently supporting clients on assessing the impact that the new regime will have on their business.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss this further.

Co-authored by Andrea Carrera a Paralegal in the Regulatory group.
 

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