US federal laws that wouldn't work in the UK?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by AY1975, 10 Jan 2020.

  1. TrafficEng

    TrafficEng Member

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    Which is the manufacturer aligning to their customer's standards (possibly on a case by case basis).

    You said "a country has to align their production standards".

    Membership of the EU is not a prerequisite of being able to manufacture to EU standards. Non-membership just means not being a party to the setting of those standards unless they are standards set at a higher level. (See DerekC's ISO point)
     
  2. TrafficEng

    TrafficEng Member

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    *PS - Not the point I was making.

    But on that point, whether or not a situation might arise where the UK opts to develop a standard for something which departs from ISO/EU ones is not something my ISO crystal ball is able to determine at this point in time.

    If you asked me to take a wild guess I might suggest something like the UK's very restricted railway loading gauge making it difficult to build (or refurbish) locomotives using engines compliant with some future Euro standard. Having taken into account all the environmental and economic factors the UK government might decide it was ok to fit non-EU compliant engines. (Plucking a totally unrealistic scenario out of the air, simply to illustrate the point).

    We could of course argue the need for the UK to have a derogation from the future standard. But sadly the civil servants tend to forget the need for things like that until it is too late. And - frankly - some people are getting slightly jaded over the need to argue over everything we do.
     
  3. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Well, if you want to be that pedantic fine - you win 100 Internet points.
     
  4. TrafficEng

    TrafficEng Member

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    Thanks for the offer :) but I cannot accept as the point wasn't pedantic.

    There is a fundamental difference between a whole country aligning itself with the EU for trade, and companies individually complying with EU standards for selling into the EU marketplace. Therefore Meerkat's point was valid.

    This is something I've seen blurred time and again in the whole tedious Brexit debate - e.g. claims that UK manufacturing will entirely cease to exist because we won't be able to sell anything in 'Europe' unless we are a member of the EU.

    There will be additional costs involved if we aren't 100% aligned, but it was worthy of having a debate whether those costs would be offset by other opportunities. Unfortunately we got bogged down in a debate whether 48 was more than 52, and whether spending excessive amounts of money on pointless facebook adverts invalidated a vote in which 33,577,342 people expressed an opinion. The debates and arguments that should have happened never did, and then the issue became so polarised that useful debate was impossible.
     
  5. DerekC

    DerekC Member

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    Ok - but the Euro standards are there for a reason. And if they make it more difficult to build or refurbish to old, polluting standards, is that a bad thing? Also it's worth remembering that the European standards committees are generally not populated by civil servants - they are mostly representatives of suppliers or operators. And what you need to build in is a special case so that you don't have to ask for a derogation. In my experience there was virtually no push-back
    in a railway context
    against the UK having special cases. It's all about whether it's better to have real influence over a large market area or the theoretical freedom to do as you like.
     
  6. TrafficEng

    TrafficEng Member

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    Not in dispute. Where we might disagree is whether the standards are always and absolutely a beneficial thing.

    It depends on the circumstances. We need to take into account the environmental impact and cost of manufacture as well.

    For example, standards often apply only to newly built products, with older items being allowed to continue in operation. It might be said it is a good thing that when a highly polluting engine wears out the locomotive it is fitted to is scrapped. But if the locomotive still has many years life left, then fitting a new engine (perhaps less polluting than the original) may avoid the cost and environmental impact of building a replacement. Or perhaps the owner might decide to fit a less polluting engine long before the old one wears out.

    Now, if the regulations permit a new engine which is not compliant with the latest standards to be fitted then all well and good. But if the regulations require the replacement to comply with all current standards, and such an engine is not practical for that locomotive, then the net result is either the locomotive carries on being used with a more polluting engine or the whole thing is scrapped. (I use this as an example that may be relevant on a rail forum, rather than saying it has or will happen to any particular class of locomotive in the UK)

    Well yes. And that is where things get complicated because not all suppliers and operators want the same thing. Some suppliers may get a commercial advantage over a competitor if a standard is set in a specific way (cf. Dyson and the vacuum cleaner energy label ruling). That is where the civil servants and others should step in to ensure a level playing field. The reality of course is national considerations then come into play and standards get a political tinge.

    As happens in so many cases. Here we go back to your "is that a bad thing?" question. At a political level it is sometimes very difficult to 'push-back' on something that on paper looks like a good thing. E.g. "What? UK civil servants blocked legislation which stops children being killed by pollution?" - I'm sure you are familiar with hearing or reading that kind of thing.

    And sometimes politicians and civil servants support initiatives even if the science behind them is less than solid (see remarks about emissions on the car ownership vs use thread)

    I would suggest the words "real" and "theoretical" in that sentence can be interchanged freely depending on individual bias and preference.
     

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