26th February 2019

MCIA Secures battery exclusion from Offensive Weapons Bill

Following the spate of acid attacks experienced in London and elsewhere last year, the government developed proposals to restrict the sale of acid and acid related products. This was included in the Offensive Weapons Bill, which included a range of measures relating to other items which could be used aggressively, such as knives, vintage weapons etc. 

The MCIA identified an unintended consequence of this action in relation to batteries containing acid, in particular, the outlawing of mail order battery sales. This was proposed due to difficulties in age verification during mail order transactions and would have resulted in major challenges for the motorcycle aftermarket sector.
 
After working with the Bill team from the Home Office and also with members of the House of Lords, the MCIA team was able to convince the Government to change the proposed legislation to exclude vehicle batteries and avert the potential damage to MCIA members’ businesses. The change was approved by the House of Lords last week. The Bill now passes back to the House of Commons, where Lords amendments will be considered, but as there is now no longer a Government bill going through Parliament which bans the distance selling of batteries, MCIA is hopeful of a successful conclusion.   
 
It should be noted that this does not change the situation for buying and selling battery acid packs. Due to changes under the Poisons Act during 2018, dealers will still need to have an Explosive Precursors and Poisons Licence (an EPP licence) to sell battery acid in separate electrolyte packs. Members of the public also need to hold an EPP licence to buy them. However, sealed batteries will continue to be able to be distance sold if the legislation passes without further amendment.

MCIA CEO Tony Campbell, commented “No one would argue against the core purpose of this Bill, but as can happen with this type of legislation, unrelated issues get entangled with unintended consequences.  Therefore, timely and decisive action by the team at the MCIA resulted in this outcome in the Lords.”
 




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