HL Deb 08 February 1972 vol 327 cc1060-1

2.39 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask ask Her Majesty's Government at what date regulations will be made making it compulsory for all three-core electrical flex to conform to the new standard colours.]


My Lords, the Electrical Appliances (Colour Code) Regulations 1969 require the cores of three-core flexible cords fitted to domestic electrical appliances to be in the new colours. No regulations are in prospect for flexible cord sold separately, but I understand that manufacturers in this country, except where different colours are specified for particular industrial or commercial purposes, supply three-core flex only in the new colours.


My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord for that reply. He has referred to the excellent new regulations to ensure that all new apparatus carries the right colours. Is the Minister aware that while the present regulations specify the type of flex to be attached to machines it is possible for a person who wants to add another yard or two of flex to the appliance to purchase from the same shop flex with a completely old-fashioned colour code? Is the noble Lord further aware that those who sell second-hand electrical appliances —and I deplore that they sell them, but they do—take out the old coloured flex, in readiness for the new flex, and, unless they purchase this from an Electricity Board showroom (they probably go to some small shop nearby) the wrong coloured flex will probably be fitted? All I am asking is whether the noble Lord will be good enough to get his Department to look at this curious anomaly?


My Lords, I believe that since 1969, apart from certain specialised industrial or commercial applications, all new three-core flex is in the new colours, whether it is sold in lengths or is attached to domestic electrical appliances. We are not aware that there is anything more than a small residual problem as regards the availability of flex in the old colours. I know very well the noble Lord's experience and knowledge in this field of safety, however, and if he has any evidence that he can give me I will ask my Department to look into the matter.


My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord. In those circumstances I shall be happy to bring to his attention reports of weights and measures inspectors who are worried about this matter.


My Lords, can the noble Lord tell us whether it is compulsory for the earth-wire in installations in a house to be properly earthed? Frequently it is not properly earthed, and this renders the three-wire system quite useless.


My Lords, that matter is not covered by the regulations which deal with colour coding. Moreover, they concern the coding of flex only where it is attached to domestic electrical appliances.