EU consults on new battery regulations - will the UK follow?

The EU Commission is consulting on a suite of new battery regulations, requesting feedback by 1 March.

When the consultation closes the responses will be considered in the European Parliament and Council, and if agreed will be implemented in member states as early as 2023.

The proposed regulations aim to “Minimise batteries’ harmful effects on the environment in line with the Green Deal and other sustainability-related policies, this initiative would update EU rules to ensure:

  • all batteries are produced sustainably (i.e. with low resource consumption and little waste generated) and can be easily recycled
  • any batteries used in the growing market for electric vehicles are sustainable”

The proposed measures include, for instance, a 20% increase in portable battery collections by 2025 to 65%, mandatory carbon footprint disclosure for electric vehicle and industrial battery producers and an obligation to reveal the recycled raw material content by 2027. 

Virginijus Sinkevičius, commissioner for environment, oceans and fisheries has stated “With this innovative EU proposal on sustainable batteries we are giving the first big push to the circular economy under our new Circular Economy Action Plan. Batteries are essential for crucial sectors of our economy and society such as mobility, energy and communications."

“This future-oriented legislative toolbox will upgrade the sustainability of batteries in each phase of their lifecycle. Batteries are full of valuable materials and we want to ensure that no battery is lost to waste. The sustainability of batteries has to grow hand in hand with their increasing numbers on the EU market.”

Will the UK follow the EU lead?

Although the UK is no longer obliged to implement the regulations, with battery consultations scheduled for later this year, agencies and stakeholders alike will be questioning whether or not to follow the EU lead.

If so, there will be a number of benefits such as market alignment and more assured maintenance of environmental standards. Furthermore, it will reduce complexity concerning the Northern Ireland Protocol, as the agreements require Northern Ireland to implement these regulations as the Republic of Ireland will. However, concerns may surround a lack of current UK collection and recycling infrastructure to implement the more ambitious measures, and a lack of tailored policy-making to the UK context.

Even if the UK does not totally align with the EU, then significant parallels with European battery policy will alleviate a multitude of potential difficulties, particularly for producers operating across borders. That the Commission’s work comes before the UK’s battery consultations, scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year, could be valuable in gauging EU policy direction and determining the relevant benefits of following the EU lead or not.  

You can view the EU consultation here. If you have any queries on future battery regulation, please get in touch.

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We can also help you collect all types of portable batteries in-store or in workplaces, from a single collection point to a UK-wide chain of stores. Please click here for more information on how to book a free collection or order collection tubs or tubes.

Louisa Goodfellow

Policy Manager

As Policy advisor Louisa provides key support to our team, including preparing reports on environmental policy issues and maintaining awareness of new developments. As such she will often be found coordinating responses to policy consultations, advocating policy positions and providing internal guidance to current legislation.

Written by Louisa Goodfellow Published 11/02/2021 Topics Batteries
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