In September 2013, the then NTDA Vice Chairman and now Chairman, Roger Griggs, wrote to members regarding the NTDA Part Worn Tyre Campaign and the proposal of a voluntary levy on members to create a “fighting fund” to combat the trade in illegal and dangerous part worn tyres.
In the autumn of 2013, the Association initially earmarked £5,000, from member’s funds, to help fund Trading Standards Officers, across the UK, to investigate unscrupulous part worn tyre dealers.
The primary objectives of this campaign are:
• To raise awareness amongst Trading Standards Officers regarding part worn tyre dealers and the lack of compliance with relevant regulations;
• To raise public awareness of the dangers associated with some part worn tyres;
• To remove illegal, dangerous and defective tyres from the part worn market;
• To encourage, where necessary, enforcement action and prosecution of unscrupulous part worn dealers, operating illegally, and put them out of business;
• To position the NTDA in a leadership role and its members at the forefront of industry best practice;
• To encourage consumers to use NTDA members for their tyre purchase and associated fitting services and make part worn tyres a highly UNATTRACTIVE option;
• To encourage industry to unite in best practice.
Since December 2013, joint inspections with Trading Standards Officers have been carried out in Bristol, Lincolnshire, Sandwell, St. Helens, Staffordshire, Wolverhampton, Derbyshire and North Lanarkshire.
Thousands of part worn tyres have already been inspected with the vast majority, circa 98%, found to be non-compliant with the Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994 (as amended).
There has been extensive trade press and national media coverage, including primetime news and a TYRESAFE supported programme feature on the BBC, and in the case of Sandwell the press exposure led, in January 2014, to the West Bromwich East MP, Tom Watson, asking the Secretary of State for Transport what research he had recently commissioned on the safety and legality of the sale of part-worn tyres. Mr Watson is now collating further evidence of the growing problem of illegal part worn tyres and the NTDA is assisting in his endeavours.
Case Study Result:
A further investigation funded by the NTDA in the East Riding of Yorkshire serves as a powerful message to support how successful the campaign has been:
Mr. Khan, Trading Standards Officer reported the following in December 2013:
“I have discovered that my initial visits have had an unexpected effect on the retailers in our area, which in turn has led me to amend plans for the inspection of seized products. Since my last visits, around 60% of local retailers have stopped selling part worn tyres altogether with others severely rationalising their stock and introducing much more stringent checks on those tyres they do sell. From a Trading Standards point of view this is a good result and largely the outcome we are looking for.”
The way forward:
Many of the vendors identified in these investigations have been arrested, prosecuted and many more face enforcement actions. It should be noted, that no region and no tyre depot is exempt from these random inspections and the NTDA already has planned Trading Standards inspections scheduled in several other regions.
However, paying for the tyre purchases, investigative consultants and resulting reports is costly and as the NTDA, alongside TYRESAFE, which has become a key partner to the NTDA in this campaign, will be at the Trading Standards Conference in June 2014, it is anticipated that further demands for funding will be forthcoming.
The initial budget of £5,000 has been spent and so NTDA members have now started to contribute the voluntary £15 per depot levy to raise further funds in order to widen the scope of the part worn campaign. Recognising the tangible benefits, NTDA members are supporting this campaign with growing enthusiasm and the NTDA is now urging manufacturers and other industry professionals to do so also.
NTDA Director Stefan Hay said: “We are very pleased with the success of this campaign to date and now have a great opportunity to actively augment it, specifically in disseminating, to industry and consumers, the results and the ‘DANGER’ message. The NTDA is already engaging actively in social media and will also be launching a new website in June with more overt consumer facing messages. We will also be developing campaign PR collateral, primarily aimed at Tier 1 consumer and National press.”