EU Takes Steps towards Combatting Climate Change
-Shraddha Chaudhary, III Year, B.A., LL.B. (Hons.)
The European Union on September the 1st, 2014 banned power appliance companies from importing or producing vacuum cleaners which draw more than 1600 watts of power to work. This is a move towards reducing the consumption of electricity in the European Union and fighting climate change in the long run by moving towards a more energy efficient system. The plan is to phase out the production and use of high wattage vacuum cleaner by 2017 and ensure that all appliances produced and used are below 900 watts.
The ruling will affect producing companies very seriously, especially companies such as Hoover which do not produce any appliances below 1600 watts. Dyson, which does not produce very high wattage appliances has still challenged the ruling for economic and policy soundness, and it would be interesting to see how the challenge pans out.
In the long run, the EU plans to reduce power consumption by imposing similar bans on other high wattage consuming appliances such as hair dryers, for instance, which are very widely used at present in the European Union. The Union has set about formulating a report in which a list of about thirty appliances will be compiled by 2015 and the Union will then take a call on whether to ban, reduce, regulate or modify these appliances to achieve the eventual aim of reducing energy consumption.
The regulation has been criticised mainly on two grounds- first, that it will create problems for those people who are allergic to dust, especially in public places, since lower wattage vacuum cleaners would not be capable of creating the kind of suction necessary to remove dust in such large areas, especially given time and usage constraints. The other criticism is that the regulation is unlikely to serve its purpose since users would just use lower wattage weaker vacuum cleaners for longer spans of time, leading to the same level of energy consumption.
 Powerful Vacuum Cleaners to be Banned in Shops Thanks to New EU Ruling, North Devon Journal (August 25th, 2014), available at http://www.northdevonjournal.co.uk/Powerful-vacuum-cleaners-banned-shops-thanks-new/story-22816652-detail/story.html.
 Kashmira Gander, Powerful Hairdryers Could be Banned in EU Attempt to Tackle Climate Change, The Independent (September 1st, 2014), available at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/powerful-hairdryers-could-be-banned-in-eu-attempt-to-tackle-climate-change-9703917.html.
 Gloucestershire Echo, Is the European Union Vacuum Cleaner Ban Good Environmental Sense or Does it Just Suck?, (August 30th, 2014) available at http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk/European-Union-vacuum-cleaner-ban-good/story-22852783-detail/story.html.