The European Union (EU) plans to ban high-powered domestic appliances such as kettles, toasters and hair-dryers as part of ‘Ecodesign’ restrictions due to be enforced just months after the UK’s referendum on membership of the politico-trading bloc.
According to European Commission guidelines, there is “world-wide demand for more efficient products to reduce energy and resource consumption.” As such it plans so-called Ecodesign legislation which, coupled with energy labelling, is intended as “an effective tool for improving the energy efficiency of products.”
Some small household appliances are in the Commission’s crosshairs as Ecodesign is intended to help “eliminate the least performing products from the market, significantly contributing to the EU’s 2020 energy efficiency objective.”
However, the energy-inefficient products under threat — including but not limited to kettles, toasters, hair-dryers, internet routers, hand-dryers, mobile phones, vending machines and patio jet-washers — have been granted a temporary reprieve by European bureaucrats despite plans for their demise having been certain for some time.
According to The Telegraph, the cynical reason behind the delayed introduction of Ecodesign regulation is the Commission’s fear of undermining the UK referendum campaign. EU officials are under orders to flag up issues in their portfolios relating to the UK which could boost the Leave campaign were they to become public.
Britain stands to be hit hardest under the rules as it accounts for a third of all EU kettle sales, despite having just 11 per cent of the population. As such Brussels bureaucrats are understood to be concerned that the new laws could be portrayed as an unwelcome “assault on the British staples of tea and toast” during the referendum campaign.
A previous ban on high-powered vacuum cleaners in 2014 sparked just such a reaction.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker communicated the decision to plough on with Ecodesign plans to the weekly College of Commissioners meeting on April 20. He will personally oversee the decision on what products to regulate during a full meeting of the college.