The Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) has today voiced its significant concerns regarding the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)’s Friday-announced plans for water efficiency labelling. The decision to bypass the well-established Unified Water Label (UWL) system in favour of a new scheme is being described as a “shocking waste” by industry leaders.
Key points from Friday’s announcement are:
- A projected launch of mandatory water efficiency labelling regulations next year with implementation by 2025. BMA described this as “painfully unrealistic” given the need to develop a new technical criteria, retest products and get the whole supply chain onboard.
- A focus exclusively on water use, excluding energy-related insights. Otherwise the new labelling scheme will almost identical to the existing UWL.
- The inclusion of products such as toilets, urinals, taps, showers (including electric models), dishwashers, washing machines, and washer-dryers under this new requirement, most of which are already covered by the UWL.
- An intention to build a new product database, neglecting the comprehensive existing UWL system.
- A necessity for third-party testing confirming adherence to the Water Supply (Water Fittings) 1999 for product labelling.
BMA recognises the government’s intent to champion water efficiency. However, the apparent decision to overlook the UWL, a system which has significantly grown in adoption and effectiveness in the UK, stands out as a glaring oversight.
Tom Reynolds, CEO of BMA, stated, “It’s deeply concerning to see such a redundant reinvention of the wheel when the Unified Water Label offers a viable and efficient solution. The cost savings alone, in contrast to the proposed £20 million expense for the new scheme, should have prompted a closer look at the UWL.”
Remaining optimistic, the BMA appeals to the government to revisit its stance in the upcoming phases of the project. With the rising popularity and trust in the UWL since Defra’s consultation over a year ago, there’s a clear opportunity for officials to leverage its strengths to realise their policy objectives.
Given the current ambiguity, BMA’s strong recommendation to manufacturers is to maintain their allegiance and utilisation of the UWL until a clearer path emerges.
The BMA remains steadfast in its mission to enhance water efficiency and will continue its proactive engagement in discussions, aiming for the best interests of the industry and end-users.