Update on Directives

20 July 2017

BCAS works directly on behalf of the compressed air and vacuum industry to advise on, shape and, at times, challenge the creation of EU and UK legislation, directives and standards. Here, the Society provides a round-up of some of the latest work that Pneurop – the European committee of manufactures of compressors, vacuum pumps and pneumatic tools – is undertaking

Machinery Directive (MD) 

The European Commission (EC) is reviewing the Machinery Directive and is consolidating the responses of stakeholders to the public consultation which ended in December 2016. Among the areas being considered are the directive’s cost efficiency, relevance to the current needs of the market and coherence with other EU policies. The study’s final report is expected to be published by mid 2017, although the impact assessment process will not start before the end of 2017.  

Outdoor Noise Directive (OND) 

The EC recently launched an impact study which aims to assess possible changes in the OND such as stricter noise limits and the removal of third party certification, noise labelling and data collection. As a result, the review of the Directive has now been on hold for a few months and is unlikely to begin until 2019 at the earliest.

Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS 2) Directive

The EC tabled its legislative proposal to revise the scope of the RoHS2 Directive on 26 January 2017. This review tackles a series of problems that cannot be solved by exemptions and guidance. The proposed amendments are in line with the previous draft and are very positive for the industry; they remove obstacles to the repair of electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) and withdraw the ban on secondary market operations.

As a next step, this RoHS review proposal will be discussed in the European Parliament and Council, but the timeframe has yet to be agreed.

Energy Efficiency 

Negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council on the proposed new EU Energy Label Regulation are still ongoing. Although negotiators agreed on the rescaling mechanism and timeframe, there are still a few obstacles to overcome. We therefore expect the new energy label framework is likely to come into force in mid-2017. 

Ecodesign Directive 

The EC has begun implementing the new principles set out in the Ecodesign Working Plan 2016-2019: they notably tabled requirements to implement the circular economy policy set out in the draft Ecodesign measure on electronic displays. Although this is specific to a product group, it can be seen as a precedent for upcoming implementing measures. For example, the draft measure requires a specific technique and sets information requirements for dismantling, re-use, recycling and recovery among others.

Ecodesign Directive - Update on Lots / implementing measures 

Compressors, ENER Lot 31: The draft final report on low pressure and oil-free compressor packages has been published and concluded that energy savings as a result of Ecodesign requirements are very low, and that applying heat recovery technology offers a bigger energy saving potential. 

Pneurop went on to produce a paper in March 2017 showing calculations for heat recovery and summarised the potential limitations of the energy savings achievable, which include risk of condensation, pressure losses from heat exchangers, the capital investment required to transform low grade heat into useful heat and potentially complicated set ups for minimal returns.

Revision of the Regulation on Fluorinated Gases (F-gas Regulation) 

The Commission intends to request that the European standardisation organisations support the update of relevant standards, ensuring a technology-neutral and consistent approach. It will also ask for a technical report to be delivered on the safe use of flammable refrigerants. 

The European Environment Agency has published a report showing that the production, import and export of fluorinated gases fell in the European Union in 2015. Larger reductions are expected in the coming years as a result of the phase-down scheme.