From July 1st 2018 all motorcycle & hard rubber batteries must be filled by the retailer before being sold to a member of the public in the UK who does not possess a valid EPP licence
New changes to government legislation mean that from July 1st 2018 it will be illegal for a member of the public to purchase a motorcycle or hard rubber battery that is supplied with a separate acid pack without them holding an Explosives Precursors and Poisons (EPP) licence. This will have far reaching effects for motorcycle and hard rubber battery resellers and consumers.
What is the new legislation?
Sulphuric acid has been reclassified as a regulated substance under the poisons act 1972. From July 1st 2018 members of the public wishing to acquire, possess or use sulphuric acid above a 15% concentration will need an EPP Licence to do so. This means that it will be an offence to buy or possess an unfilled motorcycle or hard rubber battery with a separate electrolyte bottle without a valid EPP licence, as the electrolyte contains sulphuric acid above 15% concentration.
Why has it come into force?
In responding to recent events and following an industry wide consultation, the government has introduced measures to further control the sale of sulphuric acid which has been reclassified as an explosive precursor. Explosive precursors are chemicals that may be used in the illicit manufacture of explosives.
What Shield products are affected?
The new regulations affect all Shield products where acid is supplied in a bottle alongside the battery for the customer to self-activate. It also affects separate electrolyte bottles.
EPP licencing is not required for batteries that are supplied with the acid already inside. These are exempt as a filled battery is classified as ‘specific object’.
The exemption is provided by new paragraph 2 (9) (b) of the Poisons Act 1972:
A substance or mixture is excluded if … it is contained in a specific object.
How does this affect distributors and dealers?
It is the responsibility of all distributors, dealers and retailers to ensure they comply with these new regulations
Business to business transactions
Distributors and dealers will not need an EPP licence providing they are acquiring, importing, possessing or using sulphuric acid for purposes connected with their trade or business, although they may be asked to provide evidence of this and explain the intended use of the chemicals.
Businesses do however have an obligation to report suspicious transactions (both business to business and to members of the public), disappearances and thefts of sulphuric acid. This also includes sulphuric acid contained within batteries.
A transaction is suspicious if there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the substance in question is intended for the illicit manufacture of explosives, or, is intended for any illicit use. Shield will only supply businesse's on receiprt of a written purchase order on headed paper.
Business to consumer transactions
On July 1st 2018 it will become an offence to supply an unfilled motorcycle or hard rubber battery sold with an acid pack to members of the public without verifying that that person has a valid EPP licence.
Members of the public without a valid EPP Licence.
We believe it is unlikely that consumers will apply for an EPP licence to buy a motorcycle or hard rubber battery. Therefore, retailers will need to fill any motorcycle or hard rubber batteries before sale to a member of the public who does not hold a valid EPP licence.
Once the battery has been filled it should be charged as advised on the battery to ensure maximum service life and prevent premature failure.
Members of the public with a valid EPP Licence.
Members of the public with a valid EPP licence are allowed to purchase, acquire or possess unfilled batteries with separate acid packs. The retailer must inspect the licence along with the forms of identification specified by the licence.
The retailer must:
- Ask to see their licence and associated photographic ID
- Compare the photograph to the customer
- Verify the photographic ID reference against the ID reference on the front page of the licence
- Check the product being purchased is allowed as part of the licence conditions (substance, concentration, quantity)
- Record the transaction details in the table on the back of the licence.
A warning label indicating that it is an offence for members of the public to acquire, possess or use the substance without an EPP licence must be affixed to the packaging.
If the battery is to be sold unfilled with an acid pack, it is the retailer’s responsibility to check for a valid EPP licence, attach an appropriate warning label and report any suspicious activity. Failure to do so could result in prosecution, a fine and up to 2 years in prison.
For online transactions, the retailer must comply with all the requirements set out by the new regulations
Online selling to members of the public with a valid EPP licence
For all online transactions, the online seller will need to see a digital scan of the valid EPP licence before completing the transaction. The battery with acid pack must then be delivered using a specialist courier who is able to follow the full EPP licence verification procedure at the doorstep before giving the customer possession of the product.
Online selling to members of the public without a valid EPP licence
If selling to members of the public who do not have an EPP licence, online retailers will need to ensure that the filled battery is packed appropriately and labelled correctly.
Please note that some types will require additional packaging and special shipping arrangements to ensure compliance with ADR regulations.
How does this affect members of the public?
From July 1st 2018 members of the public wishing to acquire or purchase sulphuric acid in concentrations of more than 15% will need a valid EPP licence. This means that to purchase a motorcycle battery sold with an acid pack a consumer will need to apply and receive a valid EPP licence, at a cost of £39.50, prior to purchase.
From November 1st 2018 it will become an offence to possess or use sulphuric acid at concentrations of over 15%, without a valid EPP licence. This includes bottles of battery electrolyte that have not yet been put into a motorcycle battery.
What are the penalties?
The penalties for possession without an EPP licence or supplying restricted substances without verifying that the member of public has a valid EPP licence can be a custodial sentence of 2 years and a large fine.
Failure to enter transaction details onto the EPP licence or not attaching the warning label has a maximum fine of £500.
Failure to meet the reporting requirements can attract a fine or custodial sentence of up to 3 months.