The invidious web of EU regulation which threatens to strangle innovation and stifle efficiency is something we need to be especially aware of according to James Dyson who has his own personal tale to tell in his battle with Brussels. The case is an alarming one, dealing as it does with environmental standards, and should concern everyone who trades with the EU.
"To most people, the regulation in question may seem innocuous. The EU directive stipulated that every vacuum cleaner sold in the EU should display a label designed to show how energy efficient each machine was and help drive down energy usage. A good idea in theory, where the best would be given the highest A-grade and the worst a G-grade.
In reality, however, the testing regime behind the grading was a sham. Flying in the face of logic, science and the EU’s own laws, the Commission decided that unlike washing machines and dishwashers, which are tested when loaded, all vacuums should be tested empty, in dust-free conditions that were nothing like real world use. It created false results and illegally benefited one group, principally the bagged European vacuum cleaner manufacturers.
The label overstated the real-world performance of old-fashioned bagged vacuum cleaners, many of which were awarded green A-grade labels. As we found out from correspondence obtained through Freedom of Information requests, this was influenced by lobbying from European industry, including the leading German bagged-machine manufacturers who had much to gain from using regulation to keep unwanted rivals out. The sentiment felt clear. Ignore Dyson, they’re British.
Only once people got their machines home did they discover the truth. Bags and filters would start clogging with dust – as they do – meaning the real-world performance of a so-called A-grade machine could be as low as a G. In addition, some manufacturers installed devices to increase the motor wattage as the bag filled with dust. This would not be detected in a test state, therefore circumventing the regulation. Dyson’s vacuums, in contrast, have constant performance and are tested on dust – 60 different kinds, in fact. What you see is what you get."
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