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Batteries power ahead

Batteries power ahead

DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS, ENTERPRISE AND REGULATORY REFORM News Release (2008/093) issued by The Government News Network on 12 May 2008

BERR will publish today a second consultation document relating to implementation of the EU Batteries Directive, this time covering just its Internal Market provisions.

The consultation includes draft Regulations to transpose the Internal Market provisions of the Directive into UK law that set out the requirements for placing new batteries and accumulators (rechargeable batteries), and appliances containing batteries, on the EU market, including the UK. These will be effective from 26 September 2008.

The draft Regulations cover restrictions on the use of specific hazardous substances in the manufacture of new batteries and accumulators as well as labelling and marking requirements. Spent batteries will also need to be readily removable from appliances, unless safety or certain other considerations apply.

More specifically:

* The composition of new batteries and accumulators - the levels of mercury and cadmium used in their manufacturing are restricted; for example, portable batteries containing more than trace amounts of cadmium may not be placed on the market from 26 September this year, unless they are used in certain exempt appliances, such as cordless power tools.

* Labelling requirements - including the 'crossed out wheeled-bin' and the appropriate 'chemical symbol' to encourage end-users to separate spent batteries for collection and aid subsequent recycling.

* The removal of spent batteries from appliances - manufacturers will be required to design appliances in such a way that waste batteries and accumulators can be readily removed.

Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks, said:

"These regulations will see that there is a limit to the use of hazardous substances in the manufacture of batteries, reducing their potential to harm human health and the environment as well as aiding recycling and the recovery of valuable resources.

"All businesses and persons involved in placing new batteries on the EU market need to be aware of these forthcoming changes. A broad range of interested parties responded to our previous consultation on the approach to implementing the Directive, and we are keen to hear from them again on this draft legislation."

The regulations will apply to all batteries - no matter their type or where they are manufactured, whether in the UK, the EU or imported into the EU from a third country. New batteries and accumulators that do not meet the requirements cannot be placed on the EU market on or after 26 September of this year.

Notes to editors

1. The EU's Directive on Batteries and Accumulators and Waste Batteries and Accumulators (2006/66/EC) aims to reduce the environmental impact of portable, automotive and industrial batteries by increasing recycling and greening the supply chain that producers and distributes them. It applies to all types of batteries regardless of shape, volume, weight, material composition or use, except for military applications and space applications.

2. Member States are required to transpose the Directive into national law by 26 September 2008. BERR takes the lead on Internal Market provisions and also leads on policy relating to industrial and automotive batteries, while DEFRA leads on household batteries. Both departments have worked closely with colleagues in the Devolved Administration and continue to do so as policy is taken forward.

3. The Government is currently analysing responses from the initial consultation relevant to the waste provisions of the Directive, which ended on 13 March 2008 and will publish a Government response shortly. The Government will then bring forward draft Regulations and a further consultation document in the summer to implement the remaining provisions of the Directive (consultation document and draft Regulations for implementing the collection, treatment and recycling provisions of the Directive).

4. The consultation has been developed in close partnership with Defra and the Devolved Administrations and follows an initial consultation (URN 07/1701) on options for implementing the Batteries Directive that ran between December 2007 and March 2008.

5. Further details are available at:
http://www.berr.gov.uk/consultations/index.html

6. The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform helps UK business succeed in an increasingly competitive world. It promotes business growth and a strong enterprise economy, leads the better regulation agenda and champions free and fair markets. It is the shareholder in a number of Government-owned assets and it works to secure, clean and competitively priced energy supplies

Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform
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Public enquiries +44 (0)20 7215 5000
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http://www.berr.gov.uk

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