HC Deb 28 February 1972 vol 832 cc22-3
26. Mr. Ellis

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will instruct the British Standards Institution to draw up appropriate standards and codes of practice for using reinforced composite materials.

Mr. David Price

Because the British Standards Institution is an independent body, we have no authority to instruct it to produce standards or codes of practice.

Mr. Ellis

Is the Minister aware that there is a serious lack of authenticated design and performance data for these new materials and that design work and certification, therefore, has nothing on which it can be based, that this puts our modern industries at a disadvantage and embarrasses assurance companies and other certifying bodies? Is he also aware that some Continental countries, particularly Germany, are now beginning to move ahead of us in this respect? Does he not agree that the by now extensive industries in this field would be greatly encouraged by an official lead?

Mr. Price

The hon. Gentleman is not correct. In fields such as polyester resins, for instance, standards are laid down by the B.S.I. I suspect from the Question that the hon. Gentleman has in mind carbon fibre. Possibly he could write to me about it. With great respect to him, he simply is not right. I shall not detain the House by quoting B.S.I. standards for a number of materials in this enormous complex called reinforced composite fibres. If the hon. Gentleman would write to me about the particular composites he has in mind, I shall do my best to give the fullest answer.