Ninth Report Contents

Instruments of interest

Draft Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products and Energy Information (Lighting Products) Regulations 2021

4.These draft Regulations propose updated Ecodesign and Energy Labelling requirements for lighting products that are placed on the market in Great Britain (GB), replacing the existing requirements. The instrument also proposes to replace the existing Energy Label with a rescaled label, moving from an A++ to E scale to a simpler A to G scale which, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), will make it easier for consumers to identify the most energy efficient lighting products. The instrument proposes further changes to enable market surveillance authorities to enforce the new rules.

5.BEIS says that the changes aim to achieve greater savings in energy, carbon and consumer energy bills, and also reflect the requirements of two EU regulations6 which the UK supported when it was a Member State and which will apply in Northern Ireland (NI) under the NI Protocol and in the EU from 1 September 2021. BEIS emphasises that without these changes, suppliers would potentially have to operate two separate supply chains and product lines, one for the GB market and one for the EU/NI market. Suppliers would potentially also have to undertake dual conformity assessment processes to ensure compliance with both sets of requirements. BEIS says that the changes introduced by this instrument avoid this outcome and the associated costs to business.

6.The Explanatory Memorandum states that while the technical requirements will be equivalent, some differences between the EU and GB regimes will exist, such as the GB Energy Label using the Union flag rather than an EU flag. We asked BEIS whether these differences would have any impact on trade between GB and NI. The Department explained that:

“[T]he EU flag is required to be displayed on the energy label in NI, whereas in GB, the UK flag is required. Nevertheless, across the UK, both the EU and UK labels may be supplied, if manufacturers choose to do so, for as long as UK and EU labels contain exactly the same information in terms of grading, energy usage and testing (which they will continue to do following this SI coming into force). This means that the same products can be sold in NI and in GB. The technical requirements in the GB regulations (this SI) reflect the EU requirements which will be in force in NI; similarly, the international standards which underpin the requirements will be the same. This means that manufacturers will be assessing conformity in the exact same way for both the EU/NI and GB markets. Nevertheless, for products placed on the NI market, the ‘declaration of conformity’ must reference the applicable EU legislation (i.e. not the GB legislation, as will be required for products placed on the GB market). [ … ] any product placed lawfully on the NI market can subsequently be placed on the GB market”.

Markets in Financial Instruments (Capital Markets) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/774)

7.These Regulations amend retained EU law and related legislation7 which regulates the buying, selling and organised trading of financial securities. HM Treasury (HMT) explains that the instrument is part of a wider package of reforms to the UK’s framework for wholesale capital markets, which will also require primary legislation. According to HMT, the instrument is part of the first legislative step of that package involving a series of small, initial amendments which aim to reduce regulatory burdens on certain financial services firms by removing unnecessary reporting requirements, without compromising investor protection standards. HMT says that the Financial Conduct Authority is proposing related changes to its Handbook rules8 which are intended to complement the changes made by this instrument.

8.The instrument revokes, for example, a requirement for investment firms providing portfolio management services to inform their client whenever the overall value of the portfolio depreciates by 10% and thereafter at multiples of 10%. HMT says that feedback from professional clients suggested that this requirement was not useful. While the obligation is revoked in relation to professional clients who will be able to agree with investment firms what reporting is appropriate based on their specific circumstances, HMT plans to consult on whether this change should also be extended to retail clients. The instrument also exempts investment firms providing portfolio management services from having to provide cost benefit analyses to professional clients when they switch the instruments in which they invest, after feedback from professional investors suggested that this requirement was superfluous. The obligation is revoked for professional clients but retained for retail clients.

Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/775)

9.This instrument allows non-religious weddings and civil partnerships to take place in outdoor spaces linked to already-approved venues in England and Wales. Confirmation must be secured from the superintendent registrar that the proposed location for the proceedings is “seemly and dignified”. Other conditions are that the venue must be accessible to the public, clear directions posted, and that no food or alcoholic drink may be consumed prior to the ceremony. New applications for venues in outdoor spaces must also be linked to a suitable “built premises”.

10.The measure is temporary, until 5 April 2022, to help deal with the backlog of ceremonies that has built up during the pandemic restrictions. Full consultation, an Impact Assessment etc will follow and a further instrument is promised in Spring 2022 to make more permanent arrangements which may also include religious ceremonies.

11.The Committee however notes that this legislation has been brought into effect within 24 hours of laying–this policy has been in development since 2019 and no aspect of its implementation meets the criteria for emergency legislation, the main rationale given is to support the “wedding industry”. The Committee will be writing to the Minister to seek better justification for this breach of the convention that negative instruments should be laid at least 21 days before they come into effect (“the 21 day rule”).

6 Commission Regulation (EU) 2019/2020 with respect to Ecodesign for light sources and separate control gears and Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/2015 with respect to Energy Labelling for light sources.

7 Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Recognition Requirements for Investment Exchanges, Clearing Houses and Central Securities Depositories) Regulations 2001 (SI 2001/995) and Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/565 which supplements the EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR).

8 See: Financial Conduct Authority, ‘FCA Handbook’: [accessed 14 July 2021].

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