National Measurement Office to enforce tyre labelling
The National Measurement Office (NMO) has been named as the enforcement body of the European tyre labelling legislation that was implemented across the continent in November 2012. The NMO’s remit covers the effective implementation of tyre labelling in the UK and includes scope for retail checks as well as monitoring the authenticity and accuracy of the labels themselves. News of the appointment bridges the gap between the legislation put in place and the industry take steps to adapt to it. Now however, there is reason for renewed positivity. Not only because there are people to take responsibility for the deployment of the law, but because we will hopefully now be able to begin gauging the real effects of the legislation on how tyres are bought and sold.
Credit has to be given to the UK government and the domestic trade associations that have worked together to see the nomination of an enforcement body through. The British economy is in just as much turmoil as everyone else’s and yet we have found ourselves positioned broadly in line with the rest of Europe. True other major tyre markets, such as Germany had already nominated their enforcement bodies by the time NMO received official confirmation that its bid for the tyre label contract had received the green light from the Department for Transport (DfT), however in reality there is not a great deal of difference between our respective levels of readiness now. Indeed, while the German government had already made their appointment at the Federal level, questions remain about exactly how this will be handled on the all-important state level. And France was still lagging behind at the time of going to press. Bearing in mind our national track record on the introduction and implementation of legislation from the lead wheel weight ban in 2005, s-marking in 2007 to Reach/clean oil legislation in 2009, it is particularly good to see the UK take the initiative in this case.
Something else to be positive about is the apparent willingness of the NMO to work with the tyre business itself. While it is of course very early days, the initial indications suggest that the NMO is keen to work with industry organisations and to put its resources in applying checks to both ends of the supply chain. Explaining that the ink is still dry on the contract assigning the work to the NMO, director of enforcement Richard Frewin told Tyres & Accessories that the body will soon embark on market surveillance once the national legislation is in place. He continued by explaining that the NMO’s operations are designed to support business, especially those that have invested in compliance.
There are many questions associated with exactly how this might work – where will audits start? How many branches will be checked? How will the balance between manufacturer and retail checks fall? – but for now we have to just acknowledge the fact that we have an enforcement body and the proverbial wheels are in motion.