ENVIRONMENT : MEMBER STATES ENDORSE AGREEMENT ON BATTERIES AND ACCUMULATORS.
The Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) confirmed, on 14 June, the agreement worked out with the European Parliament on changes to Directive 2006/66/EC on the placing on the market of portable batteries and accumulators (and related waste) containing cadmium for use in cordless power tools. The deal, struck on 5 June, still has to be endorsed by the European Parliament - the vote is scheduled at a plenary session next September - before the Council can proceed with formal adoption of the new directive. It will enter into force the 20th day after publication in the Official Journal of the EU and member states will then have 18 months to transpose it into national law.
The 2006 directive banned the sale of batteries and accumulators containing mercury and cadmium but allowed a derogation for batteries for wireless power tools and for button cells with low mercury content. The new directive abolishes all derogations for batteries containing more than 0.002% of cadmium and sets the deadline of 31 December 2016 for application of the ban to allow the recycling industry and consumers to adapt. The new directive also bans the placing on the market of button cells with a mercury content of less than 2% by weight, applicable 21 months after the directive's entry into force. Batteries and accumulators placed on the market lawfully before the new prohibitions enter into force may be sold until stocks run out.