Trading Standards news

Trading Standards news

On this page the primary aim is to update and make aware both businesses and consumers of new developments that impact on both these groups.

Unleaded Petrol

From the 1 September 2021, the standard (95 octane) petrol grade in Great Britain became E10. Diesel fuel will not be changing.

Almost all (95%) petrol-powered vehicles on the road today can use E10 petrol and all cars built since 2011 are compatible.

If your petrol vehicle or equipment is not compatible with E10 fuel, you will still be able to use E5 by purchasing the ‘super’ grade (97+ octane) petrol from most petrol stations. Petrol pumps will clearly label petrol as either E10 or E5.

Avian Flu

Avian influenza (bird flu) is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of avian influenza in poultry or captive birds you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Failure to do so is an offence.

If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77 - please select option 7).

All bird keepers (whether you have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) must keep a close watch on them for signs of disease and maintain good biosecurity at all times. If you have any concerns about the health of your birds, seek prompt advice from your vet.

You should register your poultry, even if only kept as pets, so we can contact you during an outbreak. This is a legal requirement if you have 50 or more birds. Poultry includes chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, pigeon (bred for meat), partridge, quail, guinea fowl and pheasants.

For further information go to Gov.uk

EU Exit Guidance

New and updated guidance continues to be produced advising on both the Great Britain and Northern Ireland regulatory regimes that now apply.  A range of guides on specific product safety regulations, including cosmetics, PPE, toys, and electrical equipment, for businesses placing goods on the market in Northern Ireland have been published. Also, packaged goods and PPE have been added to the guides for businesses placing goods on the market in Great Britain.

These guides (and further guides as they are produced) can be found at: Gov.uk

Construction Products

On the 19 January 2021 the Government announced that the Office for Product Safety and Standards will be the new regulator for the safety of construction products. Go to Gov.uk

NAO Product Safety Report

On the 16 June 2021 the National Audit Office published a report on the product safety regime. To see a copy of the full report go to Report (pdf 1.3 Mb) 

NHS Concerns on Magnetic Products

The NHS has expressed serious concerns about the safety of certain magnetic products. A potentially life threatening TikTok trend, involving tiny magnets that can be easily swallowed, has triggered the NHS to call for a ban.

These tiny magnetic balls are widely sold as creative toys, with a recent TikTok craze seeing them used as fake facial piercings by teenagers.

The viral prank sees people place two magnetic balls either side of their tongue and wiggle it around, creating the illusion that their piercing is real.

The NHS issued a patient safety alert after at least 65 children were admitted to hospital for urgent surgery in the last three years after swallowing magnets.

The magnetic objects are forced together in the intestines or bowels, squeezing the tissue so that the blood supply is cut off. Ingesting more than one can be life-threatening and cause significant damage within hours.

For more information go to NHS 

New Legislation

1. The Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act 2021 C19 will come into force on the 1 October 2021. The Act means that a “business owner” commits an offence if in the course of the business owner's business— a person other than an approved person administers, in England, to another person (“A”)— (i) botulinum toxin, or (ii) a subcutaneous, submucous or intradermal injection of a filler for a cosmetic purpose, where A is under the age of 18. To access the guidance go to Gov.uk

2. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps etc.) (England) (Revocation and Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021 No. 848) have revoked the previous legislation. The Government has announced the roadmap out of the national lockdown. The ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’, setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England document that can be found here: Gov.Uk.

3. The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 1095). legislates to now make: 

  • Sales of bagged traditional house coal and wet wood in units under 2m3 unlawful.

  • Wet wood in larger volumes must be sold with advice on how to dry it before burning.

  • All manufactured solid fuels must now have a low sulphur content and only emit a small amount of smoke.

  • In addition, a new certification scheme will see products certified and labelled by suppliers to ensure that they can be easily identified, and retail outlets will only able to sell fuel that is accompanied by the correct label.

 For further related guidance go to Gov.uk

4. The Environmental Protection (Plastic Straws, Cotton Buds and Stirrers) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 971).

These Regulations, which apply in relation to England, prohibit persons from supplying or offering to supply certain plastic items in the course of a business. The prohibitions now apply, except for the prohibition of the supply of drinks products with single-use plastic straws attached to their packaging, which applies from 3 July 2021.

Part 2 prohibits the supply of single-use plastic straws to an end user, subject to certain exceptions. The exceptions include the supply of straws by registered pharmacies, the supply of straws by a catering establishment together with food or drink for immediate consumption, and the supply of straws which are medical devices or are for use for medical purposes. Part 2 also prohibits the supply of drinks products with single-use plastic straws attached to their packaging, subject to an exception for medical purposes.

Part 3 prohibits the supply of single-use plastic stemmed cotton buds to an end user, other than for medical, forensic or scientific purposes.

Part 4 prohibits the supply of plastic drink stirrers.

To see the Government guidance on the new Regulations go to Gov.uk.

5. The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 SI 2019 No.1093, (known as "Lucy's Law" see Gov.uk) was implemented on the 6 April 2020.

Regulation 2 amends a licence condition relating to the activity of selling animals as pets (or with a view to being resold as pets). The amendment precludes the sale of puppies and kittens bred by anyone other than the licence holder. Regulation 3 makes transitional provision for existing licences to be treated, in relation to sales made on or after 6 April 2020, as subject to a condition in the terms set out in regulation 2.

6. The Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019 SI 2019 No.1218. From the 1 October 2021, the manner in which food businesses must provide allergen labelling information for Prepacked for Direct Sale (PPDS) food will change. On that date, PPDS food will need to have a label with a full ingredients list with allergenic ingredients emphasised within it. For more information go to the FSA website. 

7. Offensive Weapons Act 2019. This Act received royal assent on the 16 May 2019. There are new criminal offences for selling corrosive substances to those under 18, possessing a corrosive substance in a public place and in relation to bladed articles. 

8. Tenant Fees Act 2019. This Act came into force on the 1 June 2019.

The only payments that landlords can charge in connection with a tenancy are:

  • the rent

  • a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than five week's rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above

  • a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than one week's rent

  • payments to change the tenancy when requested by the tenant, capped at £50, or reasonable costs incurred if higher

  • payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant

  • payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and council tax; and

  • A default payment for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device, where required under a tenancy agreement.

All other fees are now prohibited payments and are not legal. Go to Guidance for the private rented sector 

Which? Policy Report on Online Marketplaces and Product Safety

Product testing by Which? has found a succession of unsafe products for sale on online marketplaces in recent years. This includes toxic levels of chemicals in children’s toys; child car seats that are illegal to use in the UK; smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that do not work, and USB chargers that pose a fire or electrocution risk.

With over 90% of people now using online marketplaces to buy an increasingly wide range of consumer goods, these sites are no longer novel ways of shopping but normal practice for millions of people.

The report (pdf 250 kb) sets out the need for action to strengthen the legal responsibilities of online marketplaces and ensure that public authorities have adequate powers, tools and resources to require action from marketplaces when people are put at risk. Specifically, they are calling for a number of actions in relation to the following so that people can be confident they are only buying safe products:

  • Online marketplaces should be required to ensure that consumer products offered for sale by sellers on their sites are safe.

  • The actions that are required by online marketplaces when unsafe products are identified should be clarified.

  • Equip enforcement officers with appropriate powers and resources to police online marketplaces.

  • There should be greater transparency obligations so that consumers are clear who they are buying from.

Petitions Committee Fireworks Report 2019

On the 5 November 2019 the House of Commons Petitions Committee published its report on Fireworks (pdf 1.2 mb).  The Committee expressed the view 'that the Government has so far failed to act in response to legitimate concerns about fireworks expressed through the e-petitions system. People rightly expect the Government to listen to them, take their concerns, and act.

Scams Awareness

The Trading Standards service continues to engage with national campaigns to alert consumers of the dangers of scams. This year's campaign took place over two weeks, from the 10 to the 23 June 2019. The first week looked at the group who have been identified as having the highest detriment from scams (Older people), whilst the second  week looked at those who are now targeted by scams in volume (Life established).

To see a photograph of the event held in Newcastle on the 11 June 2019 with Councillor Nick Kemp, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Climate Change, together with Nicola Diston and Neil Duffy from Newcastle CAB go to photo (pdf 301 kb). More information on the national campaign go to Scams

For more information on the related work go to our webpages on Doorstep Crime and No Cold Calling Zones and Charity Donation Fraud

Newsletter

The service aims to publish a newsletter on a bi-annual basis. To see the latest edition go to High Standard (pdf 960 kb)

Contact

Trading Standards service, Directorate of Operations and Regulatory Services, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. Email: tradingstandards@newcastle.gov.uk  

 

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