Updated Jun 9, 2022

GB will not implement single charger rule

In an effort to reduce needless waste, the EU has provisionally agreed that all new portable electronic devices, such as mobile phones, tablets and portable speakers, must use a USB type-C charger as standard by autumn 2024. This means that every such device will use the same cable, causing less confusion for consumers and hopefully reducing the amount of waste produced when consumers buy new devices.

Due to the Northern Ireland protocol, this rule will apply to Northern Ireland. However, the Government has indicated that it does not intend to follow suit, and Great Britain will therefore continue to use multiple different charging cables for portable electronic devices.

Critics of the EU plan say that it will stifle innovation, whilst others believe it is the right move as consumers can choose whether they need a new charging cable when buying new electronic devices, therefore eventually reducing waste. The EU estimates it could reduce up to 11,000 tonnes of waste a year once the rule is in force.

It is unclear yet as to why the Government has decided against replicating the plan. There could be technical, financial or political reasons (fuelled by Brexit). Nevertheless, there are now concerns that because Northern Ireland will have to follow the EU charging cable rules, it could result in a difference in product standards across the UK.