EU rules could impact UK battery sector

27 April 2021 | Muriel Cozier

Some aspects of proposed EU rules for battery production could encourage investment in EU production facilities, rather than the UK.

The UK Parliament’s European Scrutiny Committee (ESC) has released a report highlighting potential impacts for the UK’s battery sector as the EU considers new rules for electric vehicle batteries.  Even though the UK has left the EU, some aspects of proposed EU rules for battery production could have an impact on inward investments in the UK, the Committee says.

One specific issue highlighted is that of the proposed ‘full life-cycle regulatory framework.’ The ESC says that the framework would seek to ensure that battery raw materials are supplied sustainably and responsibly, that battery products are environmentally friendly and once used the products are recycled. The ESC contends that if such a framework were established and enforced in the EU, and partly because the EU market is bigger than the UK, it could lead to greater investment in the EU battery sector rather than the UK.

The Committee also highlighted that the proposed EU Regulation, which is aimed at promoting the development and sustainability of batteries, could affect the UK as whole. This is because of both the impact of Northern Ireland’s alignment with the UK internal market, and the provisions of the EU-UK Trade Agreement; limiting how much of an electric car may contain materials not sourced  from either the UK or the EU. 

In response to questions from the ESC, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Rebecca Pow MP has said that the UK [is] considering the various legal implications and would continue to work closely with car and battery manufacturers across the UK to accelerate plans for a UK electric vehicle supply chain.

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