RoHS rules tweaked to boost enforcement

The Business Department (BERR) published a consultation on proposed changes to regulations restricting of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS) in September.1

New provisions dealing with investigating and enforcing the regulations have been set out after “small but significant” problems identifying the producers of non-compliant products, due in part to the complexity of the electrical and electronics supply chain.

BERR hopes the new regulations will also provide the enforcement authority, the National Weights and Measurements Laboratory, with a better range of enforcement tools to tackle non-compliant behaviour.

Among the proposals are powers to allow the NWML to:

  • Require documentation and information where a retailer or distributor refuses to identify the supplier of a particular item of electrical or electronic equipment.
  • Issue written notices requiring a person to provide the enforcement authority with information or documents that may be relevant in establishing if producer obligations have been met.
  • Serve compliance notices on producers suspected of non-compliance.
  • Serve a “final warning” enforcement notice that may require non-compliant goods to be withdrawn from the market or prohibit or restrict their being put on the market.

These measures would apply whether the breach in compliance occurred before or after the new regulations come into force.

As well as widening the range of enforcement options available to regulators, the changes attempt to “future-proof” the regulations against amendments to the list of exempt applications in the RoHS Directive, which has happened six times in just two years.

BERR is proposing that the regulations are amended so UK legislation is brought into line simultaneously with changes to the exemption list in the Directive. It argues that this will remove confusion between seemingly different UK and EC legislative texts.

The consultation closes on 29 November.

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