EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

DCMS: Better consumer protection and a formal industry-led co-regulatory system will be introduced for the first time as common standards for video-on-demand services are adopted across Europe. The new measures are part of the European Union Audio Visual Media Services (AVMS) Directive which was implemented on 19 December 2009.
 
Under the Directive, the UK has an obligation to make sure video-on-demand services meet new cross-EU standards, with Member States encouraged to adopt a co-regulatory solution. This means the system of regulation is owned & run by the video-on-demand industry, but with backup powers for the Government or a national authority to intervene if need be.
 
A further compulsory element of the AVMS Directive is to prohibit product placement, which is already the case in the UK.  However the Directive allows Member States to bring in certain exceptions in certain types of TV programme (DCMS recently held a public consultation on this issue).  In addition, under the Directive television channels based in the UK, which broadcast solely across the internet, are now required to get a license from Ofcom, making the regulations standard across all platforms.
Press release ~ European Union Audio Visual Media Services (AVMS) Directive ~ Consultation (closed) on Product Placement on Television
 
BIS: New powers preserving the pint & the mile came into force on 1 January 2010 and the new legislation ensures that any business that uses imperial units alongside metric can continue with business as usual. In 2009, Britain successfully negotiated an indefinite exemption from EU laws which would otherwise have meant British businesses having to produce separate metric & imperial labels for different markets.
 
The change also means the UK alone can decide on the future of the pint of beer, cider & milk, the mile on road signs and the troy ounce for precious metals.
Press release ~ Units of Measurement Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/3046) ~ Weights and Measures (Metrication Amendment) Regulations 2009 (SI2009/3045) ~ Directive on Units of Measurement (Directive 2009/3/EC)
 
BIS: New legislation, designed to ensure that all waste industrial & automotive batteries are recycled in the future, came into effect on 1 January 2010. Producers of industrial & automotive batteries are required to arrange the collection, treatment & recycling of such batteries, free of charge, if requested by business end-users and final holders.
 
The regulations also introduce targets for the collection & recycling of portable (mainly household) batteries of 25% by 2012, and at least 45% by 2016. Producers who place more than 1 tonne of portable batteries on the market in a year must join a Battery Compliance Scheme (BCS) which will arrange for the collection & recycling of waste portable batteries on their behalf.
Press release ~ Business Link – New Rules on Batteries ~ NetRegs: Battery Compliance Scheme (BCS ~ Defra: Batteries
 
BIS: UK consumers will be able to shop for services in Europe with renewed confidence following Consumer Minister, Kevin Brennan’s, launch of a new free service informing them of their rights. The European Consumer Centre for Services (ECCS) is a website & telephone service which provides general information on consumer laws & rights when buying a service in other European countries.  The portal will also have contact details of organisations that could provide practical assistance in the case of dispute.
 
The services that UK consumers can get advice on include:
* Tourism services such as hotels, timeshares & car hire
* Construction services such as architects, builders, electricians & plumbers
* Estate agents & letting agents
* Private education providers such as language schools
* Accountancy services & lawyers
 
The ECCS will be linked to the existing European Consumer Centre (ECC) which deals with consumers that have bought goods or services in Europe and have a problem with that contract.  Both offer advice on rights when buying from another country in the European Economic Area – the European Union, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Press release ~ European Consumer Centre for Services (ECCS) ~ European Consumer Centre (ECC) ~ Trading Standards Institute ~ EU Services Directive~ Business Link: Know your consumers’ rights
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