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Published on August 21st, 2017 | by The GC Team

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All talk, no action – Government urged to act on white goods recalls and safety

The London Fire Brigade and other concerned parties have written to PM Theresa May urging decisive action on the improvement of the product recall system and manufacturing standards for white goods.

The move marks a year since a fire started by a tumble dryer in a tower block in Shepherd’s Bush destroyed the homes and possessions of a number of families living in the building. The appliance was subject to a safety notice issued by the manufacturer as part of a corrective action programme.

The LFB pointed out that people across the UK are still using white goods that pose a serious fire risk and are subject to recall or corrective action a year after the Shepherd’s Bush fire.  There are three fires a day involving tumble dryers in the UK and the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed at least 80 people, was started by a fridge freezer.

The letter also stated that some fridges and freezers are still being produced with a flammable plastic backing which offers very little protection against the insulation foam inside catching alight if a fire starts.

The LFB has urged the government to act now as the process of review to improve the product recall system has been ongoing for almost three years and, so far, no substantial changes have been made to improve it.  

“What is needed now is action,” the letter stated.

The review of the UK product recall system was first announced in November 2014. This was then launched in March 2015, led by consumer champion Lynn Faulds Wood, who reported in February 2016 with a series of recommendations. A steering group was then set up to take the recommendations forward.

Following the Shepherd’s Bush fire, a new working group to replace the steering group was set up in autumn 2016 and published its recommendations in July 2017. The Government response to the report is understood to be due this autumn.

The LFB concluded the letter with this statement: “We are writing to you now to call for the recommendations of the working group report to be acted upon swiftly and in full, to include a single register for UK product recalls.

“We also call upon the Government to put its full weight behind bringing about changes in the international standards for how white goods are manufactured and to look at what can be done to bring about these changes more quickly in the UK.”

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