DfT favours light-touch enforcement
The UK government Department for Transport (DfT) thinks the British tyre industry could take up to six months to catch up with all the necessary requirements for European tyre labelling compliance. Furthermore, the department's prevailing view is said to be that “heavy handed enforcement is not on the agenda” in the first half of the year following the introduction of the new rules. Their view is that the introduction of the law is not about a short term rush to change, but rather a long-term transformation of the way the market interacts with consumers in the same way as has taken place in the white goods industry over a decade.
This latest insight into how government will handle the introduction of the new legislation came via BTMA chief executive and TIF secretary Graham Willson, who was speaking at one of the TyreTalk seminars given during Brityrex 2012, which runs this week at EventCity in Manchester. In addition to the interpretation of the government’s role in enforcement of labelling, Willson also suggested that it is likely the penalty for any labelling breach could be in line with the s-marking penal code. This means a £5000 penalty per offence. However it is not clear whether “per offence” means per non-compliant tyre, label or sales process or whether it means per case. In the latter scenario a delivery of non-compliant tyres could be fined £5,000 as opposed to millions if each tyre is counted as an individual offence.
There are not any further details on exactly which agency will be responsible for enforcement of the new rules. And with roughly three weeks till implementation, it is looking increasingly unlikely that a decision will be made or indeed publicised prior to the implementation deadline.