The amended Low Voltage Directive will be applicable from 20 April 2016 and will require harmonised standards to be listed in the EU Official Journal (OJ) before they offer a presumption of conformity. Until now safety standards were listed in the OJ for information only. This is not that significant in terms of process (the list comes out every 6 months or so and standards normally have a three year transition period). However, there are concerns that there could be instances of publication being delayed if a particular Commission consultant wanted changes to a standard to match the introduction of new legislation.
The UK implements this Directive via its consumer legislation which is why the new Consumer Rights Bill includes safety as an aspect of non-conformity. However, the process for dealing with prospective safety issues is laid out in the UK’s General Product Safety Regulations which will eventually be superseded by the European Regulation currently in development.
The amended Directive on Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) will also be applicable from 20 April 2016. It has always been the case that EMC standards need to be cited in the OJ before they offer a presumption of conformity, so this has not changed.
It is expected that BIS will hold a consultation in late 2014 on the transposition of these Directives into UK law.