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Mander Organs
Colin Harvey

Defending The Pipe Organ

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Car batteries cannot be made without lead. Will cars be illegal? I imagine that some Ministers will have great embarrasment in getting rid of the 'Green' electric run-arounds that recently they trumpeted in the press. They are more in trouble than the usual ones. The whole thing is a farce and one hopes common sense will one day prevail.

Even a light bulb, I am informed should also be banned. So back to hand-pumping, and candles for Evensong and Vespers.

 

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

 

This is simply not true Dominic!

 

There are perfectly acceptable alternatives to the lead/acid battery, such as Nickel/Cadmium batteries. (Fuel cells are another possibility).

 

Of course, the REAL difference is COST.

 

In any event, there is a very efficient machinery in the re-cycling of lead/acid battery waste, and the lead does not find its way into land-fill sites.

 

MM

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But cadmium is also one of the banned metals. However, I don't see anything in the WEEE directive that covers car batteries so I assume they will still be OK (but with the caveat that I've about as much clue about what goes on under a car's bonnet as the archetypal blonde).

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Could new organs be made with 100%, or more correctly 99.9% recycled pipework - i.e. older pipes remade?
This is one for Brian, but I'm not sure they could. The statutory instrument says "These Regulations shall not apply to spare parts for the repair, or to the reuse, of electrical and electronic equipment put on the market before 1st July 2006". That would seem to me to imply that, since it's only OK before 1 July, from then on you can't reuse, or make spare parts for EEE if they contain lead.

 

How do the EU/DTI officials calculate their 0.1% anyway?  Is it by weight?
The limit was set by the DTI and the statutory instrument says it's "0.1% by weight in homogenous materials for lead".

 

It's always tempting in situations like this to play with the words and twist them to your own advantage. That's fine in a court of law, but otherwise it tends not to get you anywhere since the only thing that counts is how the authorities interpret it. You can point to the bit in the regulations that states

"electrical and electronic equipment" means equipment which is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work properly
and suggest that, so long as organ builders provide a hand-pumping facility and the rest of the organ is mechanical, then it's perfectly OK to provide an electrical blower since the instrument is not 'dependent on electric currents or electro-magnetic fields in order to work properly'. But would you want to risk having that tested in court?

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"Even if the available second-hand pipework has severely nicked languids and too high a cut-up, remaking is still less effort and less expense than commissioning new in any case"

 

- I'm afraid that this is not the case at all, at least not where adequate wages are being paid to skilled men for doing the work.

 

"This would at last put a realistic value upon redundant organs.".

 

- And would probably encourage every hard-up parish to dispose of its organ as a first resort for paying a large gas bill!

 

David Wyld

Henry Willis & Sons Ltd.

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I was yesterday approached by one of my congregation who enquired in a concerned tone whether all the congregation were going to die because of the lead in the organ. She seemed to have picked up from somewhere that the organ was a health risk and therefore they should all sit as far away from it as possible. Although there has obviously been a lot of overblown hyperbole in the papers (like Salisbury Cathedral being silenced forever - how so, when all they're doing is refurbishing the console?), but has anyone seen anything that has even hinted at such a wider health risk? I hope not.

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This is one for Brian, but I'm not sure they could. The statutory instrument says "These Regulations shall not apply to spare parts for the repair, or to the reuse, of electrical and electronic equipment put on the market before 1st July 2006". That would seem to me to imply that, since it's only OK before 1 July, from then on you can't reuse, or make spare parts for EEE if they contain lead.

 

The limit was set by the DTI and the statutory instrument says it's "0.1% by weight in homogenous materials for lead".

 

It's always tempting in situations like this to play with the words and twist them to your own advantage. That's fine in a court of law, but otherwise it tends not to get you anywhere since the only thing that counts is how the authorities interpret it. You can point to the bit in the regulations that states and suggest that, so long as organ builders provide a hand-pumping facility and the rest of the organ is mechanical, then it's perfectly OK to provide an electrical blower since the instrument is not 'dependent on electric currents or electro-magnetic fields in order to work properly'. But would you want to risk having that tested in court?

 

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

 

 

 

Let's take an analogy which might just clarify this a little, if only to point out a certain absuridty in the rulings.

 

As I understand it, anything which qualifies as an "electrical device" is something which, whether plugged into a mains supply or not, in some way relies upon the use of electricity in order for it to function in its entirety. Thus, if I own a yacht which is entirely at the mercy of the wind, the WEEE directive does not apply. If, on the other hand, I have the same yacht ktted out with a small outboard petrol motor and a satellite navigation system, the yacht then becomes "an electrical device."

 

However, (and herein lyeth the absurdity) if the yacht was first registered prior to July 1st, I would be free to add whatever parts I so-wished, in order to "repair" or presumably "upgrade" to a higher specification.

 

If the yacht is registered AFTER July 1st, then I would be obliged to ensure that any component parts added, comply with the WEEE directive, which of course they would, because the suppliers of additional equipment would be subject to the same regulations.

 

Thus far, the thinking is flawless.

 

What I could NOT do after July 1st, is get a NEW yacht built with lead-weights in the keel, but of course, there are numerous alternatives and this would not be a problem.

 

I would have to consider the matter at greater depth, but I suspect that adding second-hand pre-July 1st components containing over 0.1% lead, would be illegal,

if fitted to a new yacht.

 

One must presume that "new" means just that....a new structure rather than some restored, rotting hulk found in an estuary.

 

Thus far, the logic is impeccable, and it is reminiscent of the German inspired legislation concerning motor-vehicles; every component of which must carry the "E mark" approval stamp. That, of course, was a set of statutes driven by commercial interests, which virtually wiped out the cheap replacement parts market in Germany.

 

Indeed, I cannot help but think that the WEEE directive has all the hallmarks of German law-making....logical, impeccable and indisputible....until you come to pipe-organs, where the lead content could be, at a guess, as high as 30% of the total weight of an instrument.....about 300 times more than is allowed.

 

The reason for the current state-of-affairs is one of polticial and legal ineptitude on the part of polticians, government departments and those who drafted the law. God knows, the Institute of Organ Builders drew attention to the the problem back in the year 2000, when they contacted the DTI here in the UK. Thus, the matter was handed-over to a government department, who then sat on the problem for a further 4 years or so, without any consultation taking place and with no questions being raised.

 

In fact, the RoHS and WEEE directives should have become part of UK law back in 2004, but being what those knuckle-dragging whizz-kids in the civil-service are, it took a further kick up the bum from the EU commission to galvanise the DTI into action, with the result that everything started to rush through; if that is the appropriate description.

 

Rushed law-making is invariably bad law-making, and as a consequence, everyone presumably forgot about pipe-organs; the subject probably burried in a pile of papers in a deep vault somehwere under Whitehall. So it weasn't until late 2005 that the problem really arose, when the DTI decalred that organs would come under the scope of the RoHS and WEEE directives when they were rubber-stamped into the UK statute books.

 

I have to say, that the IBO have responded both quickly and effectively, but then, a condemned-cell does tend to clarify the mind a little, and in the meantime, it is necessary to eat.

 

Of all people, musicians should know that interpretation is the key to successful performance, and it is the INTERPRETATION of EU statute, RIGHT HERE IN THE UK, which is causing the impasse. The EU directives are, without doubt, thoroughly welcome legislation in so far as envrionmental protection and public-health issues are concerned. They were never intended to apply, in a blanket fashion, to pipe-organs.

 

Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure which end of the dog the floppy-bit is attached to, and whether the unfortunate creature is toungue-wagging or tail-wagging, but even within the EU, there is a certain healthy, or even un-healthy sense of no-one actually knowing what it is that they are talking about. On the one hand, we have an EU commissioner who publically declares that, "this does not apply to pipe-organs" and "you can fill all your churches with as many organ-pipes as you wish."

Then we get others, both in the EU and in London, who state that NEW organs are to be included under the RoHS and WEEE directives, but old ones aren't.

 

Now, as I see it, we are not being unreasonable by taking these people to task, by pointing out the inconsistencies in the interpretation. It's rather like the music of Bach, because if he could have been bothered to write-in slur marks and manual-changes, we wouldn't be in the situation we are to-day, and 250 years of scholarship could have been better spent gardening.

 

With all respect to the IBO, I don't actually care what they think or whether they approve of my actions, because I am a euro-citizen who wants a few answers to a few questions. More than that, when some of these people are paid in excess of £120,000 per annum, I expect them to be professional and competent in every way.

 

There are certain very basic principles involved in all this; all of which concern the nature of democracy itself, and my questions are thus:-

 

1) Why has the DTI ignored representations and petitions from the IBO?

 

2) Why does a European Commissioner contradict other EU officials?

 

3) Why do we all keep getting standarised replies to valid questions?

 

4) Why is there not a level playing-field across Europe, if the RoHS and WEEE directives have been adopted by member states?

 

5) Why, if those directives are perceived as being applicable to NEW pipe-organs, do various funding-bodies make tax-payer's money available for that exact same purpose? (Magdeburg Cathedral - EU development fund, and the Music Academy in Poznan, Poland presumably from educational funding......there are other examples)

 

Of the above, no.5 is the most useful to the cause of new pipe-organs, because we effectively have them by the parts of the body which are mono-syllabic and bounce!

 

Trust me, when I suggest that Barry Jordan isn't going to find that work stops at Magdeburg, or that Poznan will get a new grand-piano instead.

 

However, I have more or less demanded to know why, considering the foregoing, this funding is being permitted at all. I have written to my MP (who very graciously signed the Early Day Motion in parliament....but then she would, wouldn't she? Bit of a maverick my MP!)

 

I have also written to all five of my regional MEP's of all polticial persuasion, which is a bit like throwing the rabbit to the greyhounds, like they do at our local dog-track.

 

I've also written to the DTI, but judging on past form, a possible reply is not quite the same as a 75-1 dead cert at Newmarket.

 

More importantly, I have served notice on all, that in the event that the RoHS and WEEE directives are simply rubber-stamped, thus bringing new organs under the scope of these otherwise worthwhile directives, I shall be raising questions about the conduct of all concerned at home and abroad. In other words, I'm going to be a bloody nuiscance!!

 

Perhaps just as effectively, I am sharpening the knives of satire; the one thing politicians hate, because they can't do anything about it, unless it's an easy target like a set of Danish cartoons.

 

MM

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So what alternatives to lead pipes?

 

Try looking at http://www.petersontuners.com/news/bbo/index.cfm

 

(sorry just being facetious)

 

MB

 

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

 

I have a simply hideous piece of Maltese-glass which someone gave me as a Xmas present, but as it's worth money, I keep it.

 

It's got a long neck and a bulbous bottom, and realising that I hadn't given it a wipe for a while, I scrubbed at it with a wet cloth, copious amounts of Jif and lots of elbow grease. (Well, it was hidden on an obscure window-ledge, and I forgot all about it.....three years ago)

 

Anyway, I picked it up to admire it's grotesque qualities, then blew at the top to get rid of the remaining bits of cobweb, and do you know, it was just the loveliest Bourdon I've ever heard?

 

Mellow of tone, prompt.....not a hint of chiff or hesitation....deeply sonourous, and yet only 18" high!

 

I say go for it!

 

I'm misunderstood as an organist, so they may as well think I'm a total alcoholic as well.

 

Yay for bottle organs!

 

MM

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I hope I'm not hogging the board a bit to-day, but I have just received an incredibly quick response to a letter sent to one of my MEP's only yesterday, which reads as follows:-

 

Dear (MM)

 

Thank you for expressing your concerns over the potential banning of pipes used in church organs, under the RoHS and WEEE directives.

 

Following an enquiry with the European Commission, the Conservatives in the European Parliament have been informed that existing church organs will not be threatened by these directives, as the legislation only applies to new products. Under these laws new products that are put on the market may not contain more than 0.1 per cent lead. This means that, in theory, new church organ pipes may be subject to such a restriction.

 

Our UK Conservative spokesman for Environment, Dr Caroline Jackson, has written to Alan Johnson MP, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to seek further clarification of whether these directives will in fact affect church organs when they are implemented in the UK. In the event that they should be included within the scope of the directives, we have asked him to ensure that the British government applies for derogation so that organ pipe manufacturers may continue to build traditional pipe organs with lead pipes.

 

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours

 

Edward McMillan-Scott MEP

 

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

 

I am well impressed, because this is the FIRST non-standard answer I have received, demonstrating that someone is taking this seriously.

 

MM

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I am well impressed, because this is the FIRST non-standard answer I have received, demonstrating that someone is taking this seriously.

So: old organs OK, new organs dodgy, and the way out is via an exemption. Looks an entirely bog-standard reply me, apart from the reference to Caroline Jackson.

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So: old organs OK, new organs dodgy, and the way out is via an exemption. Looks an entirely bog-standard reply me, apart from the reference to Caroline Jackson.

 

 

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

 

 

I suspect it is a little more important than this, because for a start, the MEP to whom I wrote, and who so quickly replied, is the Vice President of the European Union.....a big gun, in other words.

 

The fact that Caroline Jackson is asking if the DTI are seeking a derogation (a legal-term which permits a deviation from legislation) from the EU Rohs and WEEE directives, means that the whole thing is becoming increasingly partisan and poltical.

 

Coupled to the inconsistencies I mentioned concerning the granting of public funds elsewhere in the EU, the pressure is now definitely on at various levels.

 

This is how it works........you just make a LOT of fuss and create a lot of work for people.

 

They'll do anything short of shooting you to keep get you off their backs.

 

That's the only good thing about democracy. Anywhere else, and they just shoot.

 

MM

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So what alternatives to lead pipes?

 

Try looking at http://www.petersontuners.com/news/bbo/index.cfm

 

(sorry just being facetious)

 

MB

 

 

I was in a bit of a silly mood when I first made this point, but I really did have serious point: are there real alternatives to lead pipes?

 

Someone suggested aluminium pipes, but are these viable? What do they sound like? Is there a difference? (Excuse my lack of knowledge in this area). Are there any other 'new' materials (advanced plastics, carbon fibre, etc) which might be able to compete?

 

Cheers,

 

MB

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So: old organs OK, new organs dodgy, and the way out is via an exemption. Looks an entirely bog-standard reply me, apart from the reference to Caroline Jackson.

 

 

I am not completely sure about this but I think a derogation is not the same thing as an exemption. My understanding is (and this was never my particular area of interest or expertise so it would be well worth while checking, especially since all my work books are in packing cases in the basement ) that an exemption is temporary, usually four years and requires to be renewed. It is applied for by an interested party, eg an organ builder. A derogation, I think, is applied for by the State Member, is of indefinite duration, and exempts the state from having to comply with that aspect of EU law from which it has derogated. Assuming I am correct this means that the difficulties identified in earlier posts that are involved in applying for exemption would be circumvented. So it would represent progress. I will make some enquiries but it is just possible someone else already knows the answer and I try to avoid all unnecessary and most necessary work these days.

 

BAC

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I was in a bit of a silly mood when I first made this point, but I really did have serious point: are there real alternatives to lead pipes?

 

Someone suggested aluminium pipes, but are these viable?  What do they sound like?  Is there a difference?  (Excuse my lack of knowledge in this area).  Are there any other 'new' materials (advanced plastics, carbon fibre, etc) which might be able to compete?

 

Cheers,

 

MB

 

 

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

 

Aluminium is difficult to work at the best of times, needs to be welded rather than soldered using MIG equipment and corrodes rather badly. It's also difficult to paint without special surface preparation.

 

Carbon Fibre would "possibly" be absolutely wonderful....I once made a sort of organ-pipe, just to amuse myself, out of a piece of broken front wish-bone, which came from Ralph Schumacher's crashed Formula-one car :D , and it sounded wonderful, even if I did cut my lip blowing it. :lol:

 

The draw-back of acrbon-fibre is the fact that it needs to be machined rather than worked, and in the manufacture, it requires a matting and bonding process like fibre-glass, and then a considerable time being baked in an oven. It's a wonderful material and incredibly strong, but it isn't very practical outside the making of Formula One cars and stealth-bombers.

 

On that note, so to speak, where is the latter when you most need it?

 

:D

 

MM

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Why can the politicians not get it into their thick heads that we're NOT asking about existing organs anymore? That question has been answered numerous times but we are still in the dark about new instruments as far as I am aware.

 

 

A sensible letter in today's Times from Messrs Neary, Archer, Trotter, Lancelot & Wright expresses concern over the continuing confusion and questions why UK civil servants are contradicting the assurance given by EU Commissioner Wallström that "you can fill your churches with as many lead pipes as you want and the Commission wil not interfere".

 

Whether it's ignorance, stupidity or sheer bloody-mindedness, we'd all like to know. As far as I can see, their European confrères see things differently, which may explain why Continental builders seem far less exercised about the whole thing.

 

JS

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Guest Lee Blick

I hae an idea for a protest.

 

We get 20 Allen Analogue organs on the back of floats and parade up to the entrance of Parliament and do a mass play-in of Bach's Toccata 'n Fugue in D minor together in every different key at the same time.

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I am not completely sure about this but I think a derogation is not the same thing as an exemption.
Thanks for pointing this out. I do hope you're right.

 

We get 20 Allen Analogue organs on the back of floats and parade up to the entrance of Parliament and do a mass play-in of Bach's Toccata 'n Fugue in D minor together in every different key at the same time.
And then file off one by one playing the Chopin Funeral March.

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

 

 

I would have to consider the matter at greater depth, but I suspect that adding second-hand pre-July 1st components containing over 0.1% lead, would be illegal,

if fitted to a new yacht.

 

 

 

 

MM

 

 

While I am happy for you to take on board the further consideration, I suspect you are likely to be right about this. There is a kind of pattern to the way these things are supposed to work though whether that is carried through into practice rather depends on people doing their jobs properly and you have several times pointed out that this cannot necessarily be relied on. Indeed, even people doing their jobs properly make mistakes. If the only standard we apply is perfection then disappointment awaits around every corner !!

 

What is supposed to happen is that after a very long consultation process involving virtually anybody who can be seen to have any kind of interest at all a set of proposals are arrived at and transformed into a directive to come into effect after a decent interval of time. The object of all this is to let everyone know what is happening and to provide plenty of time for adaption to a new situation, but once the set time has arrived then the new standards of manufacture/safety or whatever are expected to apply from that day forward.

 

What this basically seems to mean (though, as with all generalisations, there are exceptions) is

 

1. All new items manufactured/marketed after the date are expected to comply

 

2. Components and replacement parts for such new items are also expected to comply, since if they did not then neither would the new item itself

 

3. Pre-existing items do not need to comply and it is not unlawful to possess or continue to use them

 

4. Replacement components for pre-existing items do not need to comply where they would not function if they did, but if compliance would not affect functionality then it is certainly possible, perhaps even probable, that compliance would be expected

 

Thus the intention once the law has come into operation is to allow those who supply components or spare parts to continue to maintain stocks of parts for use in goods that do not have to comply BUT NOT to sell off their remaining stocks of non-conformng parts for incorporation in new products which are expected to comply. One of the purposes of the lengthy implementation timetable is to allow such suppliers to exhaust their non-complying stock before the date when the new provision comes into operation.

 

In addition to all this, European legislation has to be interpreted in the European or continental fashion. At a risk of some over simplification this focuses far more on what was intended than what the words of the law actually say. So whereas the traditional English Common Law approach is to look very closely at the actual wording of the law and construe what meaning that wording can properly be understood to bear , the continental approach is to look far more broadly at what the lawmaker intended and then interpret the wording used so that that intention is carried out. This approach allows considerably less scope for evading the operation of a law by means of searching for loopholes and trying to wriggle through them. Thus whereas in the past English judges have held that a piece of legislation did not succeed in doing what it was known that those who put it through Parliament intended it to do, it is far more difficult, if not impossible, for that situation to arrise when the continental approach to interpretation applies.

 

Brian Childs

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In addition to all this, European legislation has to be interpreted in the European or continental fashion. At a risk of some over simplification this focuses far more on what was intended than what the words of the law actually say. So whereas the traditional English Common Law approach is to look very closely at the actual wording of the law and construe what meaning that wording can properly be understood to bear , the continental approach is to look far more broadly at what the lawmaker intended and then interpret the wording used so that that intention is carried out. This approach allows considerably less scope for evading the operation of a law by means of searching for loopholes and trying to wriggle through them. Thus whereas in the past English judges have held that a piece of legislation did not succeed in doing what it was known that those who put it through Parliament intended it to do, it is far more difficult, if not impossible, for that situation to arrise when the continental approach to interpretation applies.

 

Brian Childs

 

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

 

 

Absoluitely correct Brian, but then, you'd know wouldn't you? :lol:

 

This is exactly the reason why I suggested that the problem is not really with Brussels or main-land Europe, but with the preferred way we draft, pass and then implement legislation RIGHT HERE IN THE UK.

 

Perhaps it is a little too political to suggest that we are overwhelmed by law in Britain, and the machinery of it may just be a very lucrative, government-funded self-perpetuating gravy-train.

 

I bring to mind that delightful skit in a certain carol, which contains the comical-line, "as clerkes finden, written in their books." (Adam lay ybounden?) Apparently, this was a reference to lines and lines of monks busily writing things out in monasteries, which would have raised a knowing smile. :D

 

Of course, if one were to generate a "flow-chart" of the machinery of enforcement, there are so many bottle-necks in actually policing and prosecuting laws of this nature, the whole thing is probably something of a red-herring, but on the other hand, a study in project risk management would probably conclude differently.

 

Surely, Brian isn't suggesting that organ-builders should enter into the European spirit of things by completely ignoring the directives?

 

Wouldn't this be a precursor to the sort of anarchy we see so often in Holland and Germany?

 

Must go and iron the bananas?

 

:D

 

MM

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
A sensible letter in today's Times from Messrs Neary, Archer, Trotter, Lancelot & Wright expresses concern over the continuing confusion and questions why UK civil servants are contradicting the assurance given by EU Commissioner Wallström that "you can fill your churches with as many lead pipes as you want and the Commission wil not interfere".

 

 

Indeed it was a fine little letter. However, of course you can fill the churches with lead pipes as Madam Commissioner so rightly says. But she omits to say they we can press the ON button and fill the reservoirs with 3 inch or so pressure to make them sing to the Glory of God.

Beware the politician/lawyer! It is what is not said that makes it so important to me. L' hole de Loop is often 'idden so very well.

 

All the best with the crusade.

 

NJA

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With some friends rosarians we advised our representatives

the deer infestation in Europe is quite worse than the lead!

Everywhere in Europe parks and rose gardens are threatened

by these proliferating animals who eat the roses alive.

And now even in England!

What does Brussels?

(No joke at all!)

Pierre

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