The British Furniture Confederation is hoping to kick start the stalled review of Britain's flammability regulations with a proposal it believes offers the industry an optimal solution.
In an effort to get the government's review process - the first in nearly 30 years - back on track, the BFC has put forward its own document proposing updates to the Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, as amended (FFFSR). These are based on industry wide consultations with the British Contract Furnishing Association (BCFA), British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM), Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA), the Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association (LOFA), National Bed Federation (NBF) and Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers (WCFM). It has also taken into account the views of the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers (AMUSF) and retail groups including the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The proposal document has this week been submitted to the Minister in charge of consumer affairs, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Margot James, MP.
In a letter to the Minister, Jonathan Hindle, chairman of the BFC, says: "In our view the current BEIS proposals would fail to deliver the stated aims of maintaining current safety levels while at the same time minimising the use of fire retardant chemicals on cover fabrics. We want a set of regulations that protect consumers from fire, health and environmental issues and after widespread consultation across the industry believe our proposal will be accepted by most stakeholders as the optimal solution for making progress on a review process that seems to have stalled."
The BFC has long campaigned for a full revision of the 1988 regulations to reflect modern materials and manufacturing processes and iron out unclear elements in the legislation.
Jonathan says: "Our proposal is supported by manufacturers, importers, retailers and re-upholsterers and we need to get on with these changes and updates. If adopted, we think it can achieve the triple aim of maintaining product safety, reducing the levels of fire retardants in products and also being achievable by industry."
Full details of the BFC proposal can be accessed here.