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ACI takes cable concerns to Westminster

The Approved Cables Initiative (ACI) has entered a new stage of campaigning, taking its concerns over counterfeit, substandard and defective cable to members of Parliament as it lobbies for change regarding the sale of unsafe cable products in the UK.

ACI takes cable concerns to Westminster

A comprehensive information pack, containing the ACI’s proposal for legislative change, a selection of media material, information leaflets and BBC footage has been sent to a carefully selected group of influential MPs and Select Committees. The ACI’s two-year campaign has aimed to educate and inform the supply chain, from specifer, to contractor and distributor, and has seen the profile of its work raised.

Peter Smeeth, spokesperson for the ACI said: “Our focus now is to communicate the scale of the problem to those with the power to develop and change legislation. The industry is being flooded with dangerous and substandard cable and without appropriate legislation and the proper funds to support enforcement the problem will not go away.

“We need to stop this cable from being imported and make those who are guilty of this practice understand that they will face penalties for breaking the law. We have spent many months looking at how other countries manage this issue and the US has the exemplar legislation to cover the importation of dangerous goods where the penalties for breaching are far more rigorous than in the UK. We are bringing this to the attention of key representatives in Government and over the next few months we will look to them for guidance on how this can be moved forward.”

In the UK the ACI is aware that some distributors and contractors are involved in the practice of reselling cable products that fail to meet the UK’s safety standards. The ACI knows of a number of distributors prepared to:
• Order overseas manufacturers to produce under specified (insufficient copper) cable and then sell it on to the UK market
• Mis-sell data cable, notably Cat5e, for Copper Clad Aluminium (CCA) cable
• Purchase inferior products from overseas and then sell it unmarked as it will be untraceable
• Misuse trademarks to fool the naïve
• Sell short lengths (confusing metres with yards, or not designating the measurement)

“It’s two years since we launched our campaign and our message is perfectly understood in the market. It is time to ratchet up the investigations and present the authorities with cases that show what lengths some will go to in the pursuit of profit with blatant disregard for public safety,” added Smeeth. “We know third party approval bodies are changing their rules for admission, auditing and monitoring of cable manufacturers in the UK and overseas. The Health and Safety Executive also shares our concerns, having been tasked by Business Innovation and Skills to investigate the Electrical Supply Industry. We will talk directly with Trading Standards next month [June] at their annual conference and exhibition in Manchester and we are in dialogue with the Fire Protection Association and ABI. By turning our attention to MPs we will ensure that this issue remains front of mind with those who can influence real change.”

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