I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."
I am presenting the Legal Metrology (Measuring Instruments) Bill 2017 to the House for Second Stage discussion. This technical Bill is required to transpose Articles 1 and 3 of Directive 2014/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the harmonisation of the laws of the member states relating to the making available on the market of measuring instruments. The remainder of the directive will be transposed into Irish law by way of ministerial regulations under the European Communities Act 1972.
The purpose of the directive is to establish the requirements that measuring instruments have to satisfy with a view to their being made available on the market and-or put into use. The Bill applies to the putting into use of measuring instruments that are set out in the Schedule to the Bill. These instruments are: water meters; gas meters and volume conversion devices; fuel dispensers, for example, for petrol; measuring systems on road tankers; measuring systems for loading road tankers; measuring systems for milk; automatic weighing instruments; taxi meters; material measures of length and capacity-serving measures; and exhaust gas analysers.
For all these instruments, the requirements of Directive 2014/32/EC apply for the putting into use for the purpose of levying taxes and duties and fair trading, except for exhaust gas analysers, which is for the purpose of protecting the environment. There is not any change in policy, and the Bill is merely required to transpose the recast directive into Irish law. These measuring instruments are the same ones that are currently subject to this type of regulation. The deadline for the transposition is overdue and, in light of that, the Bill was prioritised in the legislative programme.
The Department has also consulted with the Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, which decided on 21 June last that it would not undertake pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill. I thank the committee members for their input.
By way of background to the Bill, the Attorney General's office advised that the optional provisions in Articles 1 and 3 of the directive must be transposed separately through primary legislation by means of a stand-alone technical Bill. A Schedule is attached to the Bill, setting out the categories of measuring instruments and prescribed uses to which the directive will apply. The other articles of the directive however, can be transposed by way of a ministerial statutory instrument by making regulations under section 3 of the European Communities Act 1972. The Bill and the statutory instrument should both come into effect on the same date.
In relation to legal metrology itself, it is primarily concerned with measuring instruments used in trade which are themselves legally controlled, and the main objective of legal metrology is to assure citizens of correct measurement results when used in trade and commercial transactions. This is a short technical Bill to transpose Articles 1 and 3 of the directive. There are no technical changes arising from the Bill affecting the instruments concerned. The aim of the recast directive is to improve compliance with existing legislation relating to harmonised products in this area. The only additional burden on operators will be the requirement to have a more detailed and standardised itinerary of instruments.
We have been in contact with the European Commission on a regular basis to update it on the transposition of the directive. We are making every effort to transpose the directive into Irish law as soon as possible. As I outlined, the Bill and the statutory instrument should both come into effect on the same date. I hope Deputies will support this Bill, which I commend to the House.