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Threat From Eu Rohs Legislation


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I dare say many of you will have seen the email thats doing the rounds, Clearly Harrisons are seriously concerned that new EU legislation will make it illegal to manufacture organ pipes using spotted metal as from this July. What's Mander's perspective on this?

 

If you haven't seen the link yet, here it is:-

 

http://www.pipes4organs.org/

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Are the media on board?

 

Have just e-mailed my MP. Since I am the Chairman of her Constituency Association she has at least to appear to listen. Would it not be a good idea to try to discover if there are any member(s) of either House with a particular interest in the organ either as a solo instrument and/or in its accompanimental role and then "latch " on to them. Personal enthusiasm will make them want to do something. The people here can assist them to do it. Just a thought.

 

BAC

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Have just e-mailed my MP. Since I am the Chairman of her Constituency Association she has at least to appear to listen. Would it not be a good idea to try to discover if there are any member(s)  of either House with a particular interest in the organ either as a solo instrument and/or in its accompanimental role and then "latch " on to them. Personal enthusiasm will make them want to do something. The people here can assist them to do it. Just a thought.

 

BAC

 

=======================

 

I shall sign petitions, contact my MP and lobby Brussels.

 

In the meantime, am I allowed to drink from my pewter tankard or remove the old lead-piping in the kitchen?

 

I've just realised that I have asbestos guttering and fall-pipes....I'm doomed!

 

MM

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Would it not be a good idea to try to discover if there are any member(s) of either House with a particular interest in the organ

 

Unfortunately, simple organbuilders such as we have neither the clout nor

knowledge of how the labyrinthine governmental machinery works - it

appears that previous approaches made by our industry's spokesmen over

the past three years or so have been politely brushed aside and without

any substantive replies.

 

At 3.45pm and 4.15pm today I have spoken to Lord Glenarthur, who is

one of our clients and a friend in addition to being one of the 93 'still sitting' peers in the House of Lords, regarding this Directive and he has immediately taken the

matter up and will try to get things moving "with the Ministers concerned".

He knew nothing of it but thinks, as do we all, that it's preposterous: he will

call on back-up from all related bodies - IBO, AIO, RCO etc.. and anyone

else who likes a fight!

 

Well, let's see them get out of replying to a Parliamentary question shall

we?!

 

 

 

David Wyld

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I dare say many of you will have seen the email thats doing the rounds
Could someone please send me a copy of the email? (Or maybe you have and I'll find it when I get home.) There are several people locally I would like to forward it to.
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Are the media on board?

If they are not, I would have thought Richard Morrison at The Times would be a good bet to get the ball rolling, given that he is also an organist at a North London church. I seem to recall he also ran a competition in The Times in which the prize was to play the Royal Albert Hall organ as part of the campaign to announce its return.

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If this silly text is adopted so, in practice tin is banned too

since it is not conceivable to use it without at least a dedicate

percentage of lead...

 

Now what if all electrical components be outside the organ?

(The next stages could be pneumatic- with no-lead tubing of course-)

Pierre

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it appears that previous approaches made by our industry's spokesmen over

the past three years or so have been politely brushed aside and without

any substantive replies.

I daresay the replies were unsatisfactory, but if approaches were made over three years, there cannot have been no replies. It would be helpful to know what "they" (the DTI, or who?) did say.
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I daresay the replies were unsatisfactory, but if approaches were made over three years, there cannot have been no replies. It would be helpful to know what "they" (the DTI, or who?) did say.

 

As you say, who are `they' and if it comes to that how much are we paying them to come up with such ill thought through legislation?

 

Everyone get to it and sign the petition.

 

Frank Fowler

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As you say, who are `they' and if it comes to that how much are we paying them to come up with such ill thought through legislation?

 

Everyone get to it and sign the petition.

 

Frank Fowler

 

======================

 

I have just realised that the forthcoming legislation, as written, would have the effect of making EU and government departments willing parties in criminal activity, unless they immediately withdraw financial support for publically funded projects involving pipe-organs.

 

As the organ I play is in bits, I wonder if we will be minus the pedal reed, the 4ft Koppel Flute and the 8ft Rohrflute when it's put back together?

 

I think we will probably beat the deadline, fortunately!

 

I wouldn't pay these people with lead-farthings.

 

MM

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Just a quick question. Has anyone actually read the directives? If so, do tell me why they apply to organ pipes. I haven't absorbed them in detail, but as far as I can see they are about the use of hazardous substances (including lead) in electrical equipment. An organ pipe is not a piece of electrical equipment, is it?

 

Is the IBO 100% sure pipes are included, or just worried that they might be?

 

Just playing devil's advocate in order to understand better.

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If they are not, I would have thought Richard Morrison at The Times would be a good bet to get the ball rolling, given that he is also an organist at a North London church. I seem to recall he also ran a competition in The Times in which the prize was to play the Royal Albert Hall organ as part of the campaign to announce its return.

 

 

Excellent idea - he's a sensible sort of chap and bound a) to be sympathetic and :unsure: glad to take a swipe at EU bureaucracy. An organisation (ie. the EU) which can lay down rules for the curvature of cucumbers is perfectly capable of implementing these directives to the letter unless made to see reason.

 

Is anyone up to writing a letter to the Times itself? It must be suitably pointed and pithy, though - no anorakian ramblings.

 

JS

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Excellent idea - he's a sensible sort of chap and bound a) to be sympathetic and :unsure: glad to take a swipe at EU bureaucracy.  An organisation (ie. the EU) which can lay down rules for the curvature of cucumbers is perfectly capable of implementing these directives to the letter unless made to see reason.

 

Is anyone up to writing a letter to the Times itself?  It must be suitably pointed and pithy, though - no anorakian ramblings.

 

JS

I was thinking about a letter to The Times myself. This could potentially be a big problem for our church, as our organ (by H&H) is likely to be installed in June/July/August this year. It would be a good story of EU against the real world: Local community raises £0.25M just to have the project outlawed at the very last minute by new EU regulations, etc. There's a nice human element to it, too. Papers like The Mail would love it, too. Thankfully, we've got just the right sort of people who could write an excellent letter in the parish and who could also have good media contacts.

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Whilst this is somewhat alarming - and I certainly would not suggest that we do nothing - I did stop to consider one or two points.

 

How likely is it that, if this legislation were passed and that pipe organs were not excluded from its reaches, organs all over Europe would have most of their metal pipe-work removed?

 

I find it difficult to imagine a situation in which this would happen. I like to think that the idiots in Brussells who make decisions (and from their track-record, I will take some convincing to believe that there is a great pool of common sense floating around there) would actually realise that this is rather like asking us to burn our own grandmothers at the stake.

 

This said, I shall not just sit back and do nothing, although, in common with Lee, I am not convinced that a petition actually changes anyones' mind about anything. Surely what is needed is a prompt, vocal and well-publicised campaign - initially to draw the attention of not just this nation, but the whole of Europe to this absurd nonsense.

 

A letter to the Times is a good start. However, I also suggest a campaign at grass-roots level - not just local MPs, but radio and TV stations, local newspapers, church congregations. I suppose that it is possible that we could request a carefully-worded prepared statement be read out in our churches, asking like-minded members of the congregation to contact their local MPs - and also their MEPs. To this end, it would be helpful to have a list of names and contact details of MPs and MEPs, in addition to a pro forma which can simply be signed and addressed by individuals. Then, perhaps with the help of the IAO - or even the RCO, regional centres could be set-up (temporarily) in order to collect the documents and pass them on as a central body. The pro forma should, ideally, be more than a petition; it should be a statement of support for the organ firstly, with a lucid explanation of why it should (collectively) be made exempt from the legislation.

 

I ask this in all seriousness - does any among us have a contact with any member of our own Royal Family? Some of their number are themselves organists (although I believe that one has subsequently become divorced). I do not expect for a moment that any one of them would wish (or be able) publicly to become involved, but they will have friends in high places....

 

A thought occurs to me - what about existing legislation which (supposedly) protects certain buildings from alteration or destruction. Is there anything similar in place which applies to pipe organs? If so, how 'legal' is it . (I have heard of a number of cases of people demolishing even Grade 1 listed buildings, due to either a loophole in the law, or purely through inadequate fines, which make it worth their while simply flaunting any court rulings.) However, if there is any existing lesislation, or designation of historical landmark (or similar) which currenty applies to organs, perhaps we can use this against the pending European ruling.

 

Another idea - is it worth investigating the possibility if a question being tabled on the matter on BBC's Question Time?

 

Presumably, high-profile (and consequently well-known) performers - not just organists - could be approached, with a view to gaining their support. After all, there are probably those in our midst who helped support fellow musicians; for example, if a local orchestra has been threatened financially, or with an equally ridiculous piece of legislation.

 

Incidentally, Vox Humana raised a very practical issue - has anyone actually read the whole of the relevant document to discover exactly what is included and what is proposed. It would not help any cause if we were to rush in, whip-up continental support and pester MPs to within an inch of lunacy, only subsequently to discover that it applies solely to electrical components which contain lead - and not pipe-work (including action runs for pressure and exhaust pneumatic actions.

 

Perhaps someone with a legally-trained mind would be willing to investigate this?

 

How about someone making a DVD to assist in highlighting the plight to the 'man-in-the-street'. Perhaps start with some views of famous (and beautiful) organ cases, one fading in from another. Then a voice-over, (ideally someone who is well-known and with whom the general public can identify), which could say something like: "Some of you may have seen and heard these beautiful instruments before, many of you may not. Perhaps an organ was played at your wedding - or you attended a concert where you heard the rich, majestic tones of these mighty kings among instruments." [Cut to view of narrator standing in front of the choir screen of a well-known British cathedral. The shot behind will be a digitally-edited composite, in which the organ case has been 'removed' and instead there is just the tunnel-effect of the distant east window. Then, a further voice-over:] "Many years ago, the forerunners of these superb instruments all over our land were destroyed at the hands of Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan suporters. ...... Now all this is threatened once more. Because of another new directive from Europe, which bans the use of lead in (.... exact wording to be verified...) these wonderful instruments, which are not only part of our nation's heritage but also of our culture, are to be dismantled because many of the thousands of individual pipe which produce the glorious sounds you are hearing [on the sound-track] contain a percentage of lead. This cannot be replaced by any other material. The organs cannot function effectively without them. ...... We need your help - NOW!" [At this point, it may be posible to give details of ways in which an individual (or a group) can provide support. This may include details of any local or regional contact centres which are dealing with signed affidavits or other documents, which will be then passed on to the legislating bodies.

 

The short DVD could perhaps end with a reminder of the visual beauty whic may be despoiled - accompanied by the fade-in of the sound-track ending on something suitably stirring (possibly the end of Vierne's First Symphony for Organ). The final view being, perhaps a held and clear view of one of the organ cases of St. Paul's Cathedral - also a national treasure.

 

During the voice-over, it may be desirable briefly to point-out the knock-on effect on a number of different jobs - and also of cathedral and church music in general.

 

In these days of sophisticated home-editing facilities, I doubt that it would be difficult to make. It need not be costly, either. It is also just an idea.

 

Any other ideas, anyone? Float them - and let us get this show on the road.

 

 

 

COWABUNGA!!

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That just goes to show that there's some cause for confusion. My understanding was that having any electric component makes the whole instrument come into scope, and that having an electric blower would be sufficient even with tracker action.

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I am quite prepared to do my bit, but first I want to know a lot more.

 

Let's start with the directives. What do they say?

 

WEEE Directive

Its purpose is the prevention of waste electrical and electronic equipment and the reuse/recycling/recovery of such wastes. It also seeks to improve the environmental performance of producers, distributors, consumers and operators involved in their treatment. [Article 1]

 

Electrical and electronic equipment means equipment which is dependent on electrical currents or electro-magnetic fields in order to work properly and equipment for the generation, transfer and measurement of such currents and fields. [Article 3(a)] Musical instruments are listed under "consumer products" at Annex 1B.

 

Member States should encourage the design and production of electrical and electronic equipment in a way that facilitates the dismantling, recovery, reuse and recycling of WEEE, their components and materials. [Article 4]

 

RoHS Directive

This restricts the use of hazardous substances, including lead, in electrical and electronic equipment (which is defined as in the WEEE Directive),

 

From 1 July 2006 new electrical and electronic equipment must not contain lead (and some other things).

 

For the purpose of scientific research and technical progress there is provision to establish minimum concentrations of the hazardous substances, and exemptions for materials and components if their elimination or substitution is technically or scientifically impractical.

 

The Annex to the directive exempts several things from the restrictions, including lead in some solders (but I am not in any way a technical chap so have no idea how relevant this is)

 

I see nothing in these directives that spells the death of organ pipes, or even necessarily the death of electic actions. So:

 

1) What did that email say and who originated it?

 

2) What have the DTI and EC said so far on the subject of pipe organs? [Edit: OK, I've now found what the DTI said, having missed it earlier.]

 

3) Who is behind http://www.pipes4organs.org/? It looks very snazzy, but why is it anonymous? If I'm being asked to sign a petition, I want to know who I am signing it for.

 

4) How do we know that the whole thing isn't a ruse to marshall the support of pipe organ enthusiasts in order to protect the European interests of electronic organ manufacturers. If that sounds far-fetched, read this letter on the EC's website. [OK, somehow I'd missed the full text of the IBO's newsletter before, which seems to answer this one.]

 

I'm not saying my understanding is complete, or even necessarily accurate, but nor am I going to start running round like a headless chicken without some hard facts. So let's have some.

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Just a quick question. Has anyone actually read the directives? If so, do tell me why they apply to organ pipes. I haven't absorbed them in detail, but as far as I can see they are about the use of hazardous substances (including lead) in electrical equipment. An organ pipe is not a piece of electrical equipment, is it?

 

Is the IBO 100% sure pipes are included, or just worried that they might be?

 

Just playing devil's advocate in order to understand better.

 

 

I have started reading the directive in the Official Journal but as anyone familiar with EU legislation will know it is completely different to the Westminster model which sets out to be a precise as possible , with tight definitions of what is covered and what is not. The directive style is more aimed at outlining a policy to be implemented. The following is a direct quote : " The Directive should cover all electrical and electronic equipment used by consumers and electrical and electronic equipment intended for professional use." Moreover, the context is important and this is about waste management so the intention is as much to deal with the plastic covers of the mobile phones as it is the electrical innards of the said phones since they can be just as polluting. However as I have pointed out in my post on the other thread in the General Discussion section Directives are not self executing and need to be implemented by National Legislation. It seems to me that is where fire can be most usefully concentrated, ie at the implementation stage at Westminster.

 

BAC

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Indeed, Brian. I should add that I have spotted that the IBO newsletter (on the pipes4organs website) says that there is "potential for significant impact on organ building". I wouldn't argue with that and agree that it would certainly be a good idea to obtain some clarity.

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