Andrew Brons has received an answer to his first tabled Parliamentary question to the European Parliament.
At the beginning of August he asked for clarification concerning the Energy Using Products directive in response to a request from one of his North Yorkshire constituents.
"Is the Commission aware that:
1.1 million homes in the United Kingdom are heated by oil-fired boilers and that the directive will prevent UK homeowners from buying replacement boilers from 2013 onwards?
Most of these homes are not connected to the gas mains and cannot easily be connected?
The new-style boilers emitting low levels of NOx are too large to fit into the average kitchen?
Homes in the UK need to fit central-heating boilers in their kitchens because most homes do not have suitable cellars or outhouses in which to put them?
Would the Commission consider granting the United Kingdom a five-year derogation from the directive, so that it would not take effect until 2018? This would enable the boiler-manufacturing industry to develop new technology to produce smaller, low NOx emissions boilers that would fit into an average kitchen.
This was the answer given by EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs on the 14th September 2009:
E-3978/09EN: Under the ecodesign for energy using products Directive a technical, environmental and economic analysis (îpreparatory studyî) on boilers was carried out, and, amongst others, NOx emissions were identified as a significant environmental aspect.
The Commission is currently in the consultation and preparation phase of the relevant Eco-design measure, and will only later table a draft measure on this issue. After a vote in the competent Committee, this measure will then go to the Council and the Parliament for scrutiny before the final adoption by the Commission.
The Commission is well aware of the particular conditions of using/installing boilers in the United Kingdom. Possible ecodesign requirements on NOx emissions (and further significant environmental aspects) will consider the effects on the UK replacement market, the energy supply infrastructure and the usage conditions, with a view to fulfil the provisions of the Ecodesign Directive, and in particular its Article 15 which requires i.a. that ecodesign implementing measures shall not have a negative impact on the functionality of the product and on the affordability for the consumer.
The levels of NOx emissions and the timetable of a possible entry into force are currently discussed with all stakeholders (including industry as well as consumer and environmental organisations) and Member States in the context of the Ecodesign Consultation Forum. As required by Article 15 of the Ecodesign Directive, levels and timing will take into account the impacts on manufacturers, e.g. the possible need for re-design of products and possible associated costs, including on UK manufacturers of oil and kerosene boilers, in particular SMEs.
Andrew Brons has issued a press release and tabled a question to the European Parliament after being contacted by a number of ferry workers from Yorkshire who had recently lost their jobs.
It transpires that economic migrants from non-EU countries are being employed by some ferry companies on wages well below the minimum wage and it is because of this British ferry workers are losing their jobs.
In his press release, the MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber said:
"There is an anomaly in national and European Union legislation that allows ferry companies to pay workers from the Third World less than the minimum wage. This has resulted in many companies replacing EU employees with workers from the Third World. Whilst workers who have previously been legally resident for five years in the territory of a member state must be paid the same as nationals of that member state, employees who have been recruited as seafarers without that period of residence can legally be paid much less than the minimum wage.
"This problem was recognised by the Commission as long ago as 1998 but no European Union law has been forthcoming to solve this problem. Ideally, the United Kingdom should be free to pass its own legislation. The inability of the EU to deal with the matter makes it more important that the United Kingdom should withdraw from this organisation completely and regain its legislative sovereignty.
"It is bad enough that British workers find that their wages are driven down to the minimum wage by the presence of EU workers from low wage economies. It is much worse that British and other EU workers are driven out of jobs by the ability of their employers to recruit workers prepared to accept Third World wages."
Andrew also tabled this question to the European Parliament:
"Does the Commission have any plans to recommence legislation to resolve the problem of non EU employees of ferry companies being paid below the minimum wage of the relevant member country?
"This practice involves the shameless exploitation of workers from the non EU state and it results in employees on ferries from EU states being replaced by employees from outside the European Union."
When Beatrice Ask, the Swedish Minister of Justice, addressed the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice & Home Affairs (Libe) on behalf of the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, she refused to answer any questions raised by Andrew Brons.
Andrew asked the following:
1. Under the European Arrest Warrant, will it be possible for a person to be extradited from a country for an act that is not an offence in that country?
2. How much discretion will the courts have in dealing with a European Arrest Warrant?
3. You mentioned harmonisation of legal procedures. Are there any plans - perhaps in the long term - to force England & Wales to give up its distinctive adversarial legal system?
Mrs Ask did answer a block of questions together with a hurried response at the end of the morning session. However, she did not address any of Andrew's questions.
Not deterred the MEP for Yorkshire and North East Lincolnshire immediately tabled the following written question to the European Parliament:
"Will it be possible for a person to be extradited from a country for an act that is not an offence in that country to a second country in which the act is an offence?
"How much discretion will courts have in deciding whether or not a person can be extradited?"
NOT DETERRED: Andrew in his office tabling his written question to Parliament (above).
Around 100,000 horses each year are transported across Europe to be slaughtered.
But the current law protecting their welfare in transit has serious legislative shortfalls and is not even enforced in many EU member states.This leads to unnecessary suffering as horses are crammed into poorly equipped vehicles for thousands of miles without rest, food or water. Injuries and disease are common and have been documented by World Horse Welfare.
These journeys are completely unnecessary - one route passes 180 premises which are licensed for the slaughter of horses.These horses should be slaughtered as near as possible to their premises of origin and then transported as meat, not forced to endure such inhumane and totally unnecessary journeys.
World Horse Welfare has launched its Make a Noise campaign calling for eight new welfare recommendations to come into law for horses in transit.
Andrew Brons MEP has tabled a question to the European Commission on this specific issue."Does the Commission have any plans to replace Regulation EC1/2005 governing the transport of horses for slaughter.
"The current law is defective in that it does not prevent horses from being transported long distances without rest, food or water."The existing law is not enforced sufficiently in many states.
"Is the Commission aware of the campaign Make A Noise organised by World Horse Welfare and will it consider including its recommendations in any future legislation?"
Andrew Brons has tabled his first Parliamentary question to the European Parliament. It concerned the Energy Using Products directive and was in response to a request from one of his North Yorkshire constituents.
The MEP for Yorkshire and North East Lincolnshire asked:
Is the council aware that:
1. 1.1 million homes in the United Kingdom are heated by oil fired heating boilers and that the directive will prevent them from buying replacement boilers from 2013
2. most of these homes are not connected to the gas pipelines and cannot easily be connected
3. the new style boilers emitting low levels of NOx are too large to fit into the average kitchen
4. homes in the UK need to fit central heating boilers in their kitchens because most homes do not have suitable cellars or outhouses in which to put them.
Would the Council consider granting the United Kingdom a five year derogation from the Directive so that it did not come into operation until 2018?
This would enable the boiler manufacturing industry to develop new technology to produce smaller low NOx emitting boilers that would fit into an average kitchen?