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Hands off our organs!

Wednesday, 22nd March 2006

Local MEPs "furious" at EU threat to traditional pipe organs

East Midlands Conservative MEPs Roger Helmer and Chris Heaton-Harris have today reacted with anger to news that new EU legislation could threaten the future of traditional pipe organs in the region's churches. From July 1st 2006, legislation designed to recycle waste electronic equipment and remove hazardous metals from the environment will make new and rebuilt pipe organs illegal as they outlaw the use of lead in the form of traditional tin/lead alloys.

Speaking today, Mr Helmer, who sat for five years on the European Parliament's Environment Committee said

"Nobody ever came to the European Parliament during the very lengthy discussions on this legislation to say that this directive would affect the lead pipes in traditional organs.”

”While we fully support any attempt to protect the environment, we are now in the ridiculous situation where the European Commission is saying that the organ builders will have to apply for an exemption from the rules on the use of lead if they wish to continue to produce organ pipes containing more than 0.1 per cent of lead."

"This is at precisely the time when we are supposed to be cutting red tape, not adding to it."

Chris Heaton-Harris added:

"It is now up to the government and the DTI to ensure that the directive excludes organ pipes from its provisions entirely. If not, the ancient tradition of making pipe organs and the jobs in this region that depend on it may well be lost forever.

"Lead pipes help give a unique tone to a pipe organ. I've never seen anyone throwing an organ pipe onto a landfill site, as they can simply be melted down to make new pipes”.