HC Deb 05 March 1993 vol 220 cc342-3W
Ms Walley

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to publicise the new regulations relating to the sale of non-compliant second-hand foam furniture.

Mr. Leigh

My Department published, in August 1991, "A Guide to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations" which explains the main requirements of the regulations in some detail and sets out the dates when they come into force. This guide, which was prepared in consultation with the Local Authorities Co-ordinating Body on Trading Standards and the Institute of Trading Standards Administrations, is to assist suppliers of domestic upholstered funiture. It is provided free of charge, and, to date, 50,000 copies have been distributed by my Department and trading standards officers throughout the country. My Department has also issued a separate guide for consumers—"Making Furniture Safer"—some 80,000 copies of which have been distributed.

Ms Walley

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will place in the Library details of advice notes given to(a) trading standards officers, (h) charities or voluntary organisations and (c) businesses in regard to foam-filled furniture in respect of (i) warning labels, (ii) information on non-compliant foam and (iii) proof of purchase of smoke alarms.

Mr. Leigh

The Department has expressed the view to the Local Authorities Co-ordinating Body on Trading Standards that the simple distribution of secondhand furniture by a charity in pursuance of its charitable objectives to needy persons, either free of charge or at a nominal cost only, would be unlikely to constitute a supply in the course of business within the meaning of the legislation.

My Department has also given guidance to charities in accordance with the above, but has recommended that individual charities should seek separate legal advice in the light of their particular circumstances.

Copies of the guidance given to charities, together with the guidance booklets on the requirements of the Furniture and Furnishings (Safety) Regulations will be placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Anthony Coombs

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what progress has been made on the European directive relating to flammability of furniture.

Mr. Leigh

The European Commission announced, in May 1991, the suspension of work on an EC directive on the fire behaviour of upholstered furniture pending research to establish a scientific basis for the development of test methods on burning behaviour. This research is now under way and is expected to be completed in 1994.

Mr. David Porter

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what estimate he has made of the quantities of second-hand furniture sold by shops, auctions and car boot sales which will have to go to landfill as a result of the implementation of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendments) Regulations 1992; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Leigh

[holding answer 23 February 1993]: The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, as amended, allowed a period of five years for suppliers of second-hand upholstered furniture to prepare for the application of the fire resistance requirements to this furniture, and to adjust stocks of non-complying furniture accordingly. No information is available as to the quantity of second-hand furniture which will have to go to landfill.

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