To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the approved cables initiative; and whether he has considered bringing forward legislative proposals to ensure that only cables compliant with British, European or international standards which carry a third-party certificate are sold in the UK.
I am aware of the objectives of the approved cables initiative and have previously been made aware of the concerns of the cable industry. To help address these concerns, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has undertaken an assessment of the state of the UK market and determined that although there was lack of awareness of the existing product safety legislation, there was not significant evidence of unsafe cables.
There is robust product safety legislation relating to cables, requiring them to be safe. Safety is determined on the basis of good engineering practice. Manufacturers self-assess their conformity with the legislation. The principle of the legislation is that use of a standard is not mandatory. However, manufacturers have the option of using relevant standards to demonstrate that their products are compliant with the requirements of the legislation. The legislation forms part of the European legislation regulating the internal market; additional legislative requirements, such as for third-party testing, would constitute an unlawful technical barrier to trade.