Does the EU really want to ban powerful electrical appliances? Despite what the tabloid papers think, it's actually about getting designers to come up with energy-efficient appliances|
As someone who must admit to being still something of a beginner when it comes to buying (and using) vacuum cleaners, the glee with which the Daily Mail and some other papers have rounded on Brussels for banning machines rated above 1,600 watts has been shocking. Stories about the ban have prompted a "stampede to buy powerful vacuum cleaners", with online sales up by as much as 400%, and reports of customers "stockpiling two or more high-power models". Can Mail readers' houses really be so dusty that they need a turbo-charged, Jeremy Clarkson-approved machine to clean their floors? Can a vacuum cleaner be a good reason to leave Europe? Do people really have enough money to stockpile vacuum cleaners?
The reality is that this is a tabloid-induced summer storm that has little to do with cleaners and everything to do with political vacuums and the right of the right to be as thick as it likes. The idea behind the albeit Orwellian-sounding Ecodesign for Energy-Using Products and Energy Labelling directives is to make the world's designers come up with machines that need less power, make less noise and cost less to run. Which sound pretty reasonable ambitions as long as the new machines continue to do their jobs efficiently. All vacuum-cleaner makers, including Sir James Dyson, as well as most fridge, washing machine and telly makers, have known about this directive for years and have quite easily adapted their models. Just a few Brits, it seems, demand the right to ignore labels showing how much money they can save and to carry on using obsolete, super-powered machines. Continue reading...