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Electric Cables

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) what steps are taken to test and improve the fire resistance to EU standards of electrical cable that is (a) manufactured in the UK, (b) imported from another EU member state and (c) imported from outside the EU (i) at point of import or manufacture and (ii) at other times before installation of the cable; (247114)

(2) what steps are being taken to ensure that fire-resistant electric cable imported for use by the UK construction industry meets EU standards.

I have been asked to reply.

Fire resistance for electric cables is covered by European standards developed under the Construction Products Directive (89/106/EEC). The 1991 UK Construction Products Regulations (SI 1620) implement this directive in the UK, and require that all products used in construction works must satisfy essential requirements (including safety in fire) for their use, where that use is regulated. In turn, the England and Wales Building Regulations (regulation 7) require that products must be fit for purpose in use. The guidance to this functional requirement states that testing and certification to a harmonised EU standard is one way of demonstrating compliance. In addition, the guidance to part B of the Building Regulations (Fire Safety) states that cables showing the appropriate classification against harmonised EU standard (BS EN 50200:2006) can be deemed compliant with the relevant requirements of part B. Scotland and Northern Ireland have similar provisions. These conditions apply equally to products manufactured in the UK or imported from either the EU or elsewhere. These requirements govern the fire resistance of cables in use: there is no mandatory requirement for testing or certification at point of manufacture or marketing.