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Hazardous Substances: Pipe Organs

Volume 684: debated on Wednesday 12 July 2006

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Energy (Malcolm Wicks) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive has the laudable aim of minimising the environmental impact of waste electrical and electronic equipment by restricting the amount of hazardous substances in any new equipment placed on the market from 1 July 2006.

The RoHS Directive draws its scope or coverage from the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, which was negotiated and adopted at the same time. The scope of both directives is very broad and was primarily intended to include consumer electronic and IT equipment, large and small domestic appliances and mobile phones. It was certainly never envisaged that the directives would apply to church and other pipe organs, although there was some legal uncertainty in the final text.

At the UK's instigation, the matter was raised at a meeting of EU member states (the Technical Adaptation Committee), chaired by the European Commission, on 26 June. Following this meeting, the Commission has clarified that pipe organs are outside the scope of the new rules. I am, therefore, very pleased to confirm that the legal uncertainties have now been resolved and pipe organs are considered to be clearly outside the scope of the RoHS and WEEE Directives.