S-mark Enforcement to Begin on 23 March 2010
Enforcement of the European s-mark legislation that took effect in October 2009 is set to begin in the UK on 23 March. From this date onwards anyone selling tyres not in compliance with Directive 2001/43 (in other words non s-marked tyres) will be subject to the consequences of a statutory instrument signed off by Department for Transport minister Sadiq Khan on 10 February. BTMA chief executive, Graham Willson, told Tyres & Accessories that this approved text will now be laid before parliament and, unless there is an adverse reaction from parliament – something that is considered unlikely, the statutory instrument completing the implementation of directive 2001/43 will become effective on 23 March 2010.
Some industry observers see the time before this as the last chance saloon for anyone who has been clearing stocks of non-compliant tyres, with the Vehicle Certification Agency and Trading Standards are expected to be vigorously enforcing the new law, with penalty fines of up to £5,000 a tyre for those caught selling non-compliant products after 23 March.
Directive 2001/43 came into power across Europe on 1 October 2009. Nevertheless, the reason the s-mark legislation won’t take effect on UK shores until March is because the Department for Transport confessed to a “delay in putting into place the statutory instrument which is required for the new s-marking regulations to become law.” In short, before now there hasn’t been any way of enforcing the European Law.
Around the time of the pan-European legal implementation last October, the NTDA warned its members not to buy any non s-marked stock, which could come into the UK from European countries (such as Germany, France and Holland).
According to tyrepress.com’s question of the month for September 2009, respondents are cynical about the governments ability to enforce the new ruling, with the majority of those who answered suggesting that “enforcement will always be difficult.”